, Volume 827, Issue 1, pp 201–209 | Cite as

An army of one: predaceous diving beetle life history stages affect interactions with shared mosquito prey

  • C. E. Bofill
  • D. A. YeeEmail author
Primary Research Paper


Predators with complex life cycles often differ in their morphology, behavior, and trophic position across their ontogeny, and may thus have variable effects on shared prey. We used the predaceous diving beetle Laccophilus fasciatus rufus as our predator, whose larvae and adults often co-occur in freshwater lentic systems. As a shared prey we used early and late instar Culex quinquefasciatus, a common wetland mosquito. We found that single adult predators were more likely to consume late instar prey compared to juvenile predators, who ate early and late instar prey equally. A mixture of juvenile and adult predator stages led to higher consumption of prey when compared to either predator type alone. Adult dytiscids consumed three times as many dead prey compared to living ones, thus implying a role in scavenging for this life-history stage. Our work highlights that predators with complex life-history stages may affect shared prey in complicated and unpredictable ways.


Complex life cycle Culicidae Dytiscidae Pond 



We thank S. Schelble, N.F. Ezeakacha, and W.C. Glasgow for assistance in the laboratory. This work was supported by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi.


  1. Aditya, G. & G. K. Saha, 2006. Predation of the beetle Rhantus sikkimensis (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) on the larvae of Chironomus Meigen (Diptera: Chironomidae) of the Darjeeling Himalayas of India. Limnologica 36: 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aditya, G., A. Ash & G. K. Saha, 2006. Predatory activity of Rhantus sikkimensis and larvae of Toxorhynchites splendens on mosquito larvae in Darjeeling, India. Journal of Vector Borne Disease 43: 66–72.Google Scholar
  3. Alto, B. W., J. Malicoate, S. M. Elliott & J. Taylor, 2012. Demographic consequences of predators on prey: trait and density mediated effects on mosquito larvae in containers. PLoS ONE 7: 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Batzer, D. P. & S. A. Wissinger, 1996. Ecology of insect communities in nontidal wetlands. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 41: 75–100.Google Scholar
  5. Bosi, G., 2001. Abundance, diversity and seasonal succession of dytiscid and noterid beetles Coleoptera: Adephaga in two marshes of the Eastern Po Plain Italy. Hydrobiologia 459: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brogdon, W. G. & J. C. McAllister, 1998. Insecticide resistance and vector control. Emerging Infectious Diseases 4: 605–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandra, G., S. Mandal, A. Ghosh, D. Das, S. Banerjee & S. Chakraborty, 2008. Biocontrol of larval mosquitoes by Acillus sulcatus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). BMC Infectious Diseases 8: 138–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clements, A. N., 1999. The Biology of Mosquitoes, Vol. II. Chapman & Hall, London.Google Scholar
  9. Culler, L. & W. Lamp, 2009. Selective predation by larval Agabus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) on mosquitoes: support for conservation-based mosquito suppression in constructed. Freshwater Biology 54: 2003–2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Culler, L., S. Ohba & P. Crumrine, 2014. Predator-prey interactions of dytiscids. In Yee, D. A. (ed.), Ecology, systematics, and the natural history of predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Springer, London: 364–386.Google Scholar
  11. Deding, J., 1988. Gut content analysis of diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Natura Jutlandica 22: 17–184.Google Scholar
  12. Formanowicz, D., 1982. Foraging tactics of larvae of Dytiscus verticalis Coleoptera: Dyticidae: the assessment of prey sensity. Journal of Animal Ecology 51: 757–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fretwell, S. D., 1987. Food-chain dynamics-the central theory of ecology. Oikos 50: 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hagen, K., S. Bombosch & J. A. McMurtry, 1976. The biology and impact of predators. In Huffaker, C. B. (ed.), Theory and Practice of Biological Control. Academic Press, New York: 93–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hicks, B., 1994. Foregut contents of adult Ilybius erichson Dytiscidae: Coleoptera from Newfoundland. Coleopterist Bulletin 48: 199–200.Google Scholar
  16. Johnson, J., D. Saenz, C. K. Adams & R. Connor, 2003. The Influence of predator threat on the timing and life-history switch point: predator-induced hatching in the southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala). NRC Canada 81: 1608–1613.Google Scholar
  17. Kehl, S. & K. Dettner, 2003. Predation by pioneer water beetles Coleoptera, Dytiscidae from sand pit ponds, based on crop-content analysis and laboratory experiments. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 1: 109–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kern W. H., 2004. Some small native freshwater fish recommended for mosquito and midge control in ornamental ponds. ENY-670 Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension: 1–4.Google Scholar
  19. Klecka, J. & D. Boukal, 2012. Who eats whom in a pool? A comparative study of prey selectivity by predatory aquatic insects. PLoS ONE 7: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Larson, D. J., Y. Alarie & R. E. Roughley, 2000. Predaceous Diving Beetles Coleoptera: Dytiscidae of the Nearctic Region. NCR Research Press, Ottawa.Google Scholar
  21. Lundkvist, E., J. Landin, M. Jackson & C. Svensson, 2003. Diving beetles Dytiscidae as predators of mosquito larvae Culicidae in field experiment and in laboratory tests of prey preference. Bulletin of Entomological Research 93: 219–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCoy, M. W., M. Barfield & R. D. Holt, 2009. Predator shadows: complex life histories as generators of spatially patterned indirect interactions across ecosystems. Oikos 118: 87–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nilsson, A. N. & O. Söderström, 1988. Larval consumption rates, interspecific predation, and local guild composition of egg-overwintering Agabus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) species in vernal pools. Oecologia 76: 131–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ohba, S., 2009. Ontogenetic dietary shift in the larvae of Cybister japonicus Coleoptera: Dytiscidae in Japanese rice fields. Environmental Entomology 38: 856–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ohba, S. & M. Ushio, 2015. Effect of water depth on predation frequency by diving beetles on mosquito larvae prey. Entomological Science 18: 519–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Payne, L. X. & J. W. Moore, 2006. Mobile scavengers create hotspots of freshwater productivity. Oikos 115: 69–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pitcher, K. A. & D. A. Yee, 2014. Habitat use, prey consumption, and dispersal responses as potential coexistence mechanisms using two morphologically similar species of predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107: 582–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SAS Institute. 2004. SAS/STAT Users Guide, Version 6, 4th ed., vol. 1 and 2. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  29. Savino, J. & R. Stein, 2011. Predator-Prey interaction between largemouth bass and bluegills as influenced by stimulated, submersed vegetation. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 3: 255–266.Google Scholar
  30. Schmitz, O. J., 2007. Predator diversity and trophic interactions. Ecology 88: 2415–2426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shaalan, A.-S. & D. V. Canyon, 2009. Aquatic insect predators and mosquito control. Tropical Biomedicine 26: 223–261.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Thakare, V. G. & V. S. Zade, 2011. Diversity, abundance and species composition of water beetles Coleoptera: Dytiscidae, Hydrophilidae and Gyrinidae in Kolkas Region of Melghat Tiger Reserve, Central India. Academic Journal of Entomology 4: 64–71.Google Scholar
  33. Velasco, J. & A. Millan, 2008. Feeding habits of two large insects from a desert stream: Abedus herberti (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae) and Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Journal of Entomology 4: 64–71.Google Scholar
  34. Vinogradova, E. B., 2000. Culex pipiens pipiens Mosquitoes: Taxonomy, Distribution, Ecology, Physiology, Genetic, Applied Importance and Control. Pensoft publishers, Sofia.Google Scholar
  35. Wilbur, H., 1980. Complex life cycles. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11: 67–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yee, D. A., 2010. Behavior and aquatic plants as factors affecting predation by three species of larval predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Hydrobiologia 637: 33–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Young, A. M., 1967. Predation in larvae of Dytiscus marginalis Linneaus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Pan Pacific Entomology 43: 113.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.BlueCross BlueShieldChattanoogaUSA

Personalised recommendations