Plants and Animals

Brychius hungerfordi Hungerford's crawling water beetle

species photo
Roger M. Strand
species photo
Roger M. Strand
species photo
species photo
species photo
Daria Hyde
species photo
Roger M. Strand
species photo
Roger M. Strand
species photo
species photo
Roger M. Strand
species photo
species photo

Key Characteristics

The Hungerford's crawling water beetle is a small, yellowish brown beetle (3.8 - 4.3 mm long) with irregular dark markings and narrow, longitudinal, finely perforated stripes on the elytra (wing coverings). In addition, the sides of the pronotum (dorsal plate behind the head) are nearly parallel for the basal two-thirds and are widened laterally.

Status and Rank

US Status: LE - Listed Endangered
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Charlevoix 1 2011
Crawford 2 2021
Emmet 4 2019
Kalkaska 2 2020
Montmorency 3 2013
Oscoda 1 2011
Presque Isle 1 2005

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


The Hungerford's crawling water beetle inhabits relatively cool (15-25 degrees C), fast flowing alkaline streams with sand and gravel substrates, often occurring in reaches with an open to partially open canopy just below beaver dams or similar human-made structures. Adults prefer gravel and cobble riffles while larvae occupy areas with slower current and dense growth of microalgae, especially Chara.

Specific Habitat Needs

Riffle needed in: Floodplain forestNorthern shrub thicketNorthern wet meadowRich conifer swamp.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Protect occupied stream reaches from hydrologic, physical, and chemical alterations. Do not remove beaver dams, and exercise caution when cleaning out upstream culverts or drains. Do not introduce brown trout into occupied streams, since the adult beetles, easily seen by the naked eye on riffles, are thought to be easy prey for fish.

Active Period

Active from third week of June to fourth week of August

Survey Methods

Surveyors use an aquatic D-frame net to vigorously sweep the water just above the bottom to create a rapid current to dislodge the beetles from their substrate. Also, set the D-frame net downstream and stamp around to dislodge the substrate. Dislodged materials will be caught in the net. Do this in several areas within a stream reach. Empty contents of the net into an enamel pan filled with stream water. Pick up rocks to search for the beetle or its larvae. Adults are collected from among plant roots under approximately 2 ft of water.

D-frame net

Survey Period: From third week of June to fourth week of August


Survey References

  • Borror, D.J. and R.E. White. 1970. A Field Guide to the Insects of North America and Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 404pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Dunn, G.A. 1999. Insects of the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 324pp.
  • Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
  • Hilsenhoff, W.L. and W.U. Brigham. 1978. Crawling water beetles of Wisconsin. Great Lakes Entomologist 6(1): 1-14.
  • Hyde, D, and M. Smar. 2000. Special Animal Abstract for Brychius hungerfordi (Hungerford’s crawling water beetle). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 4pp.
  • Merritt, R.W. and K.W. Cummins. 1996. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America, 3rd ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque. 862pp.
  • NatureServe. 2005. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 4.5. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available