Extinct in Ireland, September 14th, The Diminutive Diver (Bidessus minutissimus)

Continuing my September postings on species extinct in Ireland since human habitation, consider the beetle. Many insects often have wonderfully evocative names – both formal and common –  that deserve to be better known. One is this diving beetle, described in Red List No 1. Water Beetles thus:

Bidessus minutissimus

The Diminutive Diver

IUCN Regionally Extinct

B. minutissimus was first found in Ireland in the River Lee, Cork, in 1847. It is also known from the Camac in County Dublin, and the River Sheen in Kerry. The last record was for a ballast pit beside the River Flesk near Killarney in 1929. B. minutissimus is found in clean shingle in unmodified rivers. It is long since extinct in England, has not been found recently in Scotland or on the Isle of Man, but persists in some Welsh river systems.

Also known as “minutest diving beetle” a literal translation of the formal name – described  on the UK National Biodiversity Network page linked to above as “patterned with black and yellow blotches (1). It is beautifully adapted for life in water, with a sleek, streamlined body and modified hair-fringed hind legs, which are used as paddles (4)”

Bidessus-minutissimus-specimen

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