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Family Overview
This family includes over 70 North American species. Both the larvae and adults of this family are aquatic. They can be found in lentic-littoral or lotic-depositional habitats. They are good climbers among the rooted plants found in their habitats. Adults can be strong swimmers as well. Both life stages have similar feeding habits; they tend to be shredding or piercing herbivores, but some are engulfing predators. The larvae sometimes overwinter in moist soil before molting into pupae and then adults. The adults must frequently resurface for air; however, the larvae get all of their oxygen from the water.
Characteristics
POLLUTION TOLERANCE
Mid-Atlantic: 5 and higher
Midwest: 7 and higher
Southeast: 8.5 and higher
0 = least tolerant, 10 = most tolerant
FEEDING HABITS
Engulfer / Predator
Piercer / Herbivore
Shredder / Herbivore
MOVEMENT
Climber
Swimmer
Diagnostic Characters
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Adults with hardened forewings (elytra) covering the hind wings. 
Family: Elytra concealing entire abdomen. Hind coxae (first segment of the last leg) expanded into a broad, flat, plates, ventrally covering the first 2 or 3 abdominal segments and most of hind femora. Adult beetles > 3 mm long.