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Keeping Great Diving Beetles

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by King Sparta, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. King Sparta

    King Sparta Arachnosquire

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    Hey guys, I am interested in keeping some of these insects. Or dragonfly larvae. If i catch any carnivorous water bugs, preferably at larvae stage. I live in Canada
    and i have this huge body of water with lots of guck, seaweed and stuff. Any advice of catching and keeping them?
    Thanks
     
  2. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    I don't keep giant diving beetles yet, although I intend to catch some this summer. I have kept a few dragonfly larvae, and a couple of them for over six months.

    Catching them all depends on the species and the site in which you want to catch them, but as I mention father down, they need something to hold onto, so if you run an aquatic net though underwater plants, reeds, and the banks of the body of water, you should catch lots of aquatic critters, and dragonflies could very well be in the haul. They also love the shallow wetlands so if you happen to be near one you could also check there.

    Housing is relatively easy. I keep dragonfly larvae in anything from a small plastic 1 gal with a hanging filter, to a 10 gal that I have separated in half by a peice of plexi. Depending on whether the body of water you collected them from is running or not (in your case it sounds like not), I usually keep them with a small filter that doesn't cause too much water current. A filter is still probably agood idea even if you collected the specimen from a pond or lake, because it will keep the prey leftovers and whatever excrements. They absalutely require something to hold onto, whether that be a stick, plant, or rock. They will die if they are left in a tank devoid of decoration. Obviously try to mimic the habitat of the species, so sticks and lots of floating aquatic plants would probably be good in your case.
    Room temp should be fine, but it is better for the temerature to drop then to rise. To much heat will kill them, whereas cold will just have them go into a sort of hibernation state.

    Feeding is also pretty easy, I just keep a small group of minnows in the tank with them. Or, if your lps has small rosy reds, those will work too. I also catch and use amphipods, stonefly larvae, mayfly larvae, mosquito larvae or other small aquatic larvae from the same body of water in which the dragonfly was caught. Any prey specimens should be of a smaller or similar body size than that of the the dragonfly. They will canabalize, so don't keep multiple in the same tank. In my experience, they tend to hunt at night, so it is unusual for one to catch them tracking down their prey. Uusually I would get up in the morning to find a random fish head floating at the surface, with a fat dragonfly larva hiding behind a rock or in a plant. :) If they are hunting at night, light does bother them, and sometimes they will leave a fish that they have killed mostly uneaten if you try to watch them with a flashlight or by turning on the light (learned that the hard way). If you do happen to catch your dragonfly feeding, though, you will undoubtedly be fascinated; it is unlike the feeding of any other invert I have ever kept.

    When it comes to the metamorphasis from larvae to adult, I don't know exactly how that works in regards to captivity; I have never kept one all the way until then, but from what I have heard, just keep a stick propped up so that it always passes the surface of the water a few inches. When the dragonfly is ready, it will stop eating for a while and then it will climb up the stick and do its thing. Maybe keep a mesh or something over the tank so that you don't have a dragonfly buzzing around your house. :D

    I hope that covered most of what you wanted to know; it does depend a lot on the species and the individual temperament, so I can't help you when it comes to that.
     
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  3. King Sparta

    King Sparta Arachnosquire

    Thanks
    that really helped. Plan on catching some this summer. :)
     
  4. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    No prob! Looking forward to seeing pics of specimens and enclosures! ;)
     
  5. King Sparta

    King Sparta Arachnosquire

    just another thing, I cant really wait. Wanna get one now but it is just spring. Know of any stores or live bait stores that sell them?
    Thanks
     
  6. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    Bugsincyberspace had some giant diving beetles a couple months ago. Bugs Of America LLC I believe also has a few various specis of aquatic beetle also, however I have never bought from them. Those might be worth checking out, though. I have never heard of a bait shop selling beetles or aquatic nymphs, but it may be different in Canada, or even a different part of the USA. Another thing that may be something to look into are water scorpions, such as Lethocerus, Belastoma or Ranatra. They are also easier to aquire, I believe.
     
  7. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    Right now is actually a better time to catch them than summer is. Minnow traps work well in areas you know for sure they are at. If there is enough interest I can catch some for people. The larva of these guys are absolutely amazing, but those you are more likely to catch in August.

    Dytiscus marginicollis - Giant Water Beetle

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    ---------- Post added 04-10-2015 at 11:03 AM ----------

    Here is a cool larval feeding video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drrHk0frwJ4
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
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  8. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    I'd like to just emphasize what nubat1000 said about keeping them separate. Aquatics are crazy cannibalistic and no matter what you house together and no matter how much food you put in there, you'll eventually end up with just a single super fat and happy specimen. And from what I've seen, belostomatids pretty much always win lol. Hope you find lots of cool diving beetles though!
     
  9. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    I didn't have any problems with adult Dytiscus being housed together but I did keep them well fed.
     
  10. I've contemplated looking into diving beetles, but I was never sure how long the adults lived, considering most beetles tend to live under a year as adults (with death feigining beetles and darkling beetles having substantially longer lifespans as adults).
     
  11. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    Wow, Travis K, I wish I could get a haul like that! I just recently heard where there might be some in my area, so I will have to go check it out.

    Pannaking, I believe aquatic beetles are safer (not completely safe, but safer) in regards to cannabaism. I have been to few museum/zoos (such as the Smithsonian Natural History museum) where there is a large tank full of sunburst and whirligig beetles, and also seen videos of giant diving beetles kept together in a relatively large, planted tank. That being said, there were other aquatic inverts such as Ranatra and Belastoma being housed in both the museums and videos in the same tanks, so I am not sure exactly how reliable such things are. I have kept a few Acilius sulcatus together with success, so I believe it can be done.
     
  12. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    I agree, I think diving beetles offer quite a bit more leeway when it comes to cannibalism. They seem to be pretty mild even when kept together in large groups (though I can't say what would happen with a sick/weak individual). I definitely lumped all aquatics into one cannibalistic group, but there's a big difference in keeping very active predators (like belostamomatids and nepids and Odonata nymphs) as opposed to scavengers or less aggressive feeders. Thanks for calling me out on that for clarity :)

    I've seen those big tanks with several Belostoma before and I think cannibalism can at least be lessened by frequent feedings and having good filtration. I just got Orin's new book on keeping Hemipterans and it a been an extremely informative read. Keeping good water quality is pretty key with those Hemipterans!
     
  13. beetleman

    beetleman Arachnoking Old Timer

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    diving beetles are a blast to keep,very easy,and pretty longlived,and yeah their larva.....like a different animal,i got some from travis sometime ago and they were beasts,i kept them all together and did great,but then they just went on a killing rampage and ate eachother even though i fed them alot,but they weren't in a big enough tank,most likely stress was the factor,now i know. i'll definitly get more if travis collects more(maybe some larva too) great person to deal with,i still have a pair of cybister diving beetles for well over a year now.they are like a married couple,these two do everything together,eat swim etc,they have mated several times saw the little larvas then gone,didn't get them out in time. all in all diving beetles rock!
     
  14. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    Haha no problem Pannaking. But seriously, some of those belostamomatids are crazy when it comes to feeding!

    I caught my first one last night! Haha I hadn't even started searching for it, I was literally in the process of putting on my waders about a mile from the pond and it almost flew into my head! XD
    Will post a picture later. Now I have to set up a tank for it...

    Does anyone on here have a communal tank of diving beetles?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  15. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Definitely going to have to keep my eye out for them now since you all are having such great success! :D I think a communal tank should be well filtered with lots of things for them to hang on to (based on what I've seen in the wild).
     
  16. long-lived? How long are we talking. And does that include larval stage or adult stage? Beetles are some of the few homometabolous insects that I prefer the adult stage over the larval stage, but unfortunately most don't live long.
     
  17. beetleman

    beetleman Arachnoking Old Timer

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    about 2 to 4 yrs(abult stage) proberly longer for the larger sp. the pasumachus"warrior beetle" can live up to 6yrs(adult stage) and how do i know that? i just had one w/5 legs just passed on(at 6yrs).i was very amazed with that.since most adult ground beetles only live a year or 2,but again i'm sure there are sp. that live longer aswell. 5yrs etc.
     
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  18. Thanks! With those considered, I may consider warrior and diving beetles lol! Warrior beetles intrigued me because they are like miniature tanks with ravenous tendencies- glad something like them gets the gift of longer life as adults.
     
  19. numbat1000

    numbat1000 Arachnosquire

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    Ripa, I highly recommend warrior beetles. And they are exactly 'miniature tanks with ravenous tendencies'. I acquired one about five months ago, and he is the most vicious insect I have ever kept. He took about two months to calm down and get used to his tank enough to the point where he eats regularly. Every once in a while he will go on a small fast, but currently he is taking crickets down everytime I put one in there!
    It's great to know their lifespan, thanks beetleman. I knew they lived for a long time, but I didnt know that long!

    In regards to the giant diving beetles, does anyone know what is an appropriate prey size? I think I will start to try feeding my new cybister fimbriolatus some small fish, I'm just curious how small the prey size has to be. Also, how often do I feed him/her?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
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  20. beetleman

    beetleman Arachnoking Old Timer

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    your welcome:) diving beetles have no boundry on what they can consume,if it's edible,it's food moving or not,i have predatory fish,so they love the frozen silversides(a bit messy though) i had a group of them and when i put my hand in the water they attacked and they were really trying to eat my hand! kinda felt like little pinching all over,they are mini piranhas w/legs,they like turtle foodsticks which you can try and it's not messy,again they will eat an array of items,so you can try different things,the only problem i had is when i feed some superworms to the diving beetles i got from travis,they were dying off quickly,i was thinking stress,but also maybe there was a chemical the worms gave off in the water,possibly.i change the water once a week,ofcourse if ya have a filter that would help alot better,but they don't have to be in super clean water,being where they come from,swamps etc.you can feed 2x weekly for a single beetle,but if ya have more they would have to be fed more often ofcourse,and their larva,ah man words can't describe those beasts,hope this helps ya out alttle,oh and ofcourse alot of foliage to hang onto and some of it out of the water,sometimes they will dry out alittle,cover the tank too.