Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 236–242 | Cite as

Environmental Cues Induce Dispersal and Burial in Crawling Water Beetle, Haliplus punctatus (Coleoptera: Haliplidae)

  • Kate S. BoersmaEmail author
  • Natalie Constancio
  • Sophie Dunkelberger
  • Lauren Musial
  • Gabriela Ortiz
  • Elizabeth von Ruden


Aquatic insects are known to modify their behavior in response to environmental conditions, but manipulative experiments are necessary to distinguish which environmental cues trigger which behaviors. Understanding these responses is particularly important for arid-land aquatic taxa because ongoing climate change is predicted to make the current extreme abiotic environment even more extreme. Here we conducted a manipulative experiment to determine the behavioral responses of a widespread and common crawling water beetle, Haliplus punctatus (Coleoptera: Haliplidae), to three environmental cues, temperature, conductivity, and water level, and recorded two behaviors, dispersal and burial. We found that increasing water temperature caused animals to bury less and disperse more, but that neither conductivity nor water level affected beetle behaviors. These responses to temperature may have widespread consequences for natural populations.


Burial Aerial dispersal Temperature Conductivity Salinity Evaporation 



We thank Shem Brudzinski and Lana Nguyen for logistical assistance, Michael Bogan for feedback on the manuscript, Rob Paulin and the Corte Madera Ranch for access to the collection site, Chase McLaughlin, Ian Cruz, and Michaela Platt for their help conceiving and executing the experiment, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable contributions.

Author Contributions

NC, SD, LM, GO, and ER designed the experiment, collected data, and contributed to manuscript writing and revision. KSB designed the experiment, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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