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Screech Beetle - Hygrobia hermanni, click for a larger image, photo is in the public domain
Photo ©2010 Michael Munich

A Biodiversity Action Plan species     Screech Beetle - Hygrobia hermanni
Family - Hygrobiidae
Also known as - Squeak Beetles

Screech beetles are group of six species of which only one, Hygrobia hermanni is resident in the UK and Europe, also in Asia and Australia.  It is a distinctively marked aquatic beetle around 8v11mm (03–0.45in) long that is light brown in colour, with a darker brown oak leaf shaped marking to the wing cases (elytra), black banding on the head and pronotum, the antennae and legs are the same light brown as the elytra.  The elytron and pronotum are finely dimpled giving an almost leathery took to the adult, the scutellum is very small.  It is a common UK species that will be seen between March and October at the margins of stagnant or still water bodies where there is a layer of mud or silt at the bottom in which they live.

They get their common name from the grating noise they make when disturbed, by stridulating, moving an abdominal tergite over a rough file like surface on the underside of the elytra.  Both adults, who are strong swimmers, and the larvae are predators specialising on various small Tubifex worm species.  Eggs are laid in small rows on the surface of aquatic vegetation and develop into crustacean-like larvae that are entirely aquatic, breathing through gills and living among the bottom mud, silt and accumulated detritus.  There are three larval stages that once adult overwinter buried in submerged soil.

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