Habitats & Collecting Methods
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Ponds, Marshes, and Ditches
Perhaps the best known water beetle habitat, collecting in standing waters such as shallow ditches, marshes, and the edges of small ponds can be extremely productive. Several factors influence how "good" the collecting will be and how diverse they beetle community is. These can include: The kind of substrate, amount of vegetation, the size/depth, and if fish are present or not.
Refer to the "Basics" page for some further explanation on commonly employed collecting methods.

At right, Andrew is kicking up vegetation and substrate to dislodge some species of Enochrus and Chasmogenus, which then float to the surface where he can skim them off with a tea strainer. A net is being used below to collect some larger, swimming species (e.g. Tropisternus) in a marsh.

Stock tanks in drier areas can be a good source of beetles. As everything else dries up, the beetles can become concentrated in these artificial ponds. The one at left (in Venezuela) did not have any hydrophilids, but did have several species of Megadytes dytiscids.
Below, there is a fairly attractive-looking ditch along the side of the road with ample vegetation (and a few hidden caimans, too). However, there were no beetles here. This was probably due to a heavy fish presence. However, some old tire tracks filled with rain water just next to the ditch were completely full of beetles. Frequently, this is the case: the smaller and less assuming habitats are the better ones.
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