Hungerford's Crawling Water Beetle
Scientific Name: Brychius hungerfordi
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2011
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:
A probable early postglacial relict, this water beetle is endemic to the upper Great Lakes and is Endangered in the US. In Canada, it is restricted to a small area and is known from only 3 locations in Ontario. This species has declined and may be extirpated at the North Saugeen River. It is threatened by further planned developments at the North Saugeen and Saugeen River locations, by hydrological alterations at the Rankin River location, and by continuing declines in water quality due to events associated with increasing human population at all locations.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2017-06-02
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Brychius hungerfordi, or Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle, is a small insect 3.7- 4.4 mm long and yellowish-brown in colour with irregular dark stripes on the back. The larvae are long and slender with a distinctive curved hook at the tip of the abdomen. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Distribution and Population
Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle is endemic to the Great Lakes region with approximately 40% of its distribution in Canada. All Canadian populations are found within Ontario. The species is restricted to five streams in three counties (Emmet, Montmorency and Presque Isle) in northern Michigan and to three rivers (the Rankin, the North Saugeen and the Saugeen) in Bruce County, Ontario. Over the last 10 years the possible loss of one of three locations has been documented. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle is a specialist of small to medium-sized streams characterized by a moderate to fast flow, good stream aeration, cool temperatures (15°C to 25°C), inorganic substrate, and alkaline water conditions. Populations are often, but not always, found immediately downstream from culverts, beaver dams, and human-made dams. The presence of the alga Dichotomosiphon may be a critical component of the habitat because the beetle larvae appear to be very dependent upon it as a food source. Some areas within two watersheds (Saugeen and Grey-Sauble) containing Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle are relatively pristine while others are very degraded. Poor agricultural practices, wetland degradation, impoundment and other watercourse alterations, and urban development are current threats in these watersheds. There is some evidence that the habitat at the location on the North Saugeen River has been impacted in such a way that may have led to a decline or loss of the Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle population. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle has four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The egg stage has not been described nor has egg-laying been observed for Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle, but based upon studies of closely related species, females probably lay their eggs in spring or early summer on or in aquatic plants. The larvae are herbivorous and a recent study suggests that they may specialize upon the filamentous alga Dichotomosiphon tuberosus. The larvae probably feed and grow until the fall when they then move from the water to damp soil along the edge of the river where they probably remain over the winter. The following spring, they likely transform from larvae to adults before returning to the water. The adult beetles may live as long as 18 months. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Although the habitat requirements of Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle are not fully understood, it is likely that threats to this species include any activities that degrade water quality or remove or disrupt the pools and riffle environment of streams in which this species lives. Such threats may include stream modification (e.g., channelization, dredging, bank stabilization, erosion control, and impoundment), pollution, impacts to the groundwater quality and quantity and invasive alien species. Alternations to stream flow as a result of waterpower development, waterpower management regimes, permits to take water (either surface water directly from the stream or groundwater that may feed the stream), discharge of storm water and other activities may also impact Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle populations by altering the hydrology, temperature, substrate and water chemistry of the stream. These activities all currently occur in the three Canadian watersheds where Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetles are found. Such activities and the resulting changes to stream flow could also impact the shoreline pupation sites of this beetle (e.g., through erosion and/or flooding). One Canadian location is adjacent to lands where an expansion to a landfill site is proposed. Such an expansion could have impacts on groundwater quality which may result in negative direct or indirect effects upon the Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle population at this location. (Updated 2017/08/30)
The Hungerford's Crawling Water Beetle is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle (Brychius hungerfordi) in Canada [Proposed]
Status Final posting on SAR registry
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.