Date of Award

Summer 1987

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

James F. Matta

Committee Member

John R. Holsinger

Committee Member

Daniel E. Sonenshine

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 H376


The aquatic insect fanua of Virginia is not very well known. This is especially true of the order Coleoptera. There are few taxonomic studies on the families of Coleoptera found within the state, and one of the least known is the family Gyrinidae. It is the intent of this study to determine what species of Gyrinidae are found within the state and where they are found. Collections of the beetles were made throughout the state from March to December.

Twenty-one species of Gyrinidae were identified in Virginia, nine species of Dineutus and 12 species of Gyrinus. The family is distributed throughout the state with little regard to the physiographic provinces. The major factor in the beetles' distribution is the availability of water. Two habitat preferences were recognized; lotic habitats and lentic habitats. All species demonstrated some type of preference for one or both of these habitats during the study. Only three species of the genus Dineutus exhibited specific recognizable patterns of distribution. The remaining species of both genera were either distributed throughout the state or were so sparsely collected that no distributions were identifiable.

All species exhibited the aggregation identified in the family known as “rafting.” Depending on the species and habitat type these rafts were either very tightly or very loosely formed, and in many cases were multispecific or multigeneric in composition. There was no evidence to suggest that specific species tended to form multigeneric aggregations more than any other species. Simplified keys to the species are presented with this study.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).