Water Scavenger Beetles from the UK

Subject: Small beetle needs identifying
Location: Midlands, UK
March 13, 2014 5:24 am
I founf several of these small beetles in a wheat field in the UK. They have light bodies, ridged/bumpy elytra and a dark head. I can’t seem to identify it though. Do you know what species it is?
Signature: H Watkins

Unknown Beetles
Possibly Water Scavenger Beetles

Dear H Watkins,
We don’t recognize your beetles, which means we must research.  Preparing questions and images for posting takes time, and our time this morning is running short, so we are posting your images and we hope to attempt an identification as well this morning, but we may not be able to provide you with a response immediately.

Unknown Beetles
Unknown Beetles

Eric Eaton provides a very interesting identification:  Water Scavenger Beetles
Two of us are thinking the beetles might be water scavenger beetles (family Hydrophilidae).  Not all of them are strictly aquatic as adults, and as Doug Yanega said:  Haven’t they had a lot of rain in the UK this year?  So, if the wheat fields were flooded, or even just “soggy,” it is a fair bet to say that is what the beetles are.

Another Update from Eric Eaton:  March 17, 2014
Ok, got a more specific reply from Michael Geiser:  “Yup, I would suspect Helophorus nubilus, a species with costate elytra, well-known from wheat fields in England (even reported as a “pest species”). But I’ll wait for Robert’s reply, as he’s the expert…”
So, yes, a water scavenger beetle!

Another Update from Eric Eaton:  March 22, 2014
Please meet Clive Turner, a coleopterist interested in the beetles, which turn out to be a different species (not Helophorus nubilus, but a different one).  I will let Clive fill you in…..
He is interested in obtaining the specimens if the person who wrote to WTB still has them.  Thanks!


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