Atlas of Iberian water beetles (ESACIB database)

Latest version published by Department of Ecology and Hydrology. University of Murcia on Dec 17, 2021 Department of Ecology and Hydrology. University of Murcia

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We provide the ESACIB (‘EScarabajos ACuáticos IBéricos’) database including all available distributional data of Iberian and Balearic water beetles from the literature up to 2013, as well as from museum and private collections, PhD theses, and other unpublished sources. The database contains 62,015 records with associated geographic data (10×10 Km UTM squares) for 488 species and subspecies of water beetles, 120 of them endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and 8 to the Balearic Islands. The included version of this database was used for the "Atlas de los Coleópteros Acuáticos de España Peninsular". In this dataset we added data of 15 additional species: 11 that occur in the Balearic Islands or mainland Portugal but not in peninsular Spain and other 4 with mainly terrestrial habits within the genus Helophorus (for taxonomic coherence). The complete dataset is provided in Darwin Core Archive format.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 62,015 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Sánchez-Fernández D, Millán A, Abellán P, Picazo F, Carbonell JA, Ribera I (2015) Atlas of Iberian water beetles (ESACIB database). ZooKeys 520: 147–154. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.520.6048


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Department of Ecology and Hydrology. University of Murcia. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 3eaec825-e7a4-49b2-b6e5-f406595f8555.  Department of Ecology and Hydrology. University of Murcia publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Spain.


Occurrence; Observation; Occurrence; Aquatic; Coleoptera; Freshwater; Iberian Peninsula; Portugal; Spain


David Sánchez-Fernández
  • Author
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF)
Andrés Millán
  • Author
Permanent lecturer
University of Murcia
David Sánchez-Fernández
  • Author
Postdoctoral reasearcher
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC)
Pedro Abellán
  • Author
Postdoctoral reasearcher
University of Murcia
Félix Picazo
  • Author
PhD student
Univeristy of Murcia
José A. Carbonell
  • Author
PhD student
Jorge M. Lobo
  • Author
CSIC permanent researcher
National Museum of Natural Sciences
Ignacio Ribera
  • Author
CSIC permanent researcher

Geographic Coverage

The study area is the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal mainland) and Balearic Islands, located in the southwest of Europe.

Bounding Coordinates South West [35.4, -10.04], North East [43.98, 4.81]

Taxonomic Coverage

We focus here exclusively on the “strictly aquatic beetles”, i.e., those that spend most of their life submerged, at least in its adult stage, in any type of aquatic ecosystem (Jäch and Balke 2008). More concretely, we focus on 13 families of water beetles belonging to three suborders.

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Coleoptera
Suborder Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga
Family Hydroscaphidae, Sphaeriusidae, Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, Hygrobiidae, Noteridae, Dryopidae, Elmidae, Helophoridae, Hydraenidae, Hydrochidae, Hydrophilidae

Temporal Coverage

Living Time Period 1840-2013

Project Data

No Description available

Title Atlas de los coleópteros acuáticos de España Peninsular
Funding This project was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Alimentation and Environment (MAGRAMA). Some data have been obtained with the support of additional projects from the Spanish Government, in particular 023/2007, CGL2007-61665 and CGL2013-48950.
Study Area Description The Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands are two close bio-geographically related areas which extend over 585,644 km2. The territory includes a variety of biomes, relief, climates, and soil types, where altitude ranges from sea level to 3483 m.a.s.l. in the Sierra Nevada (SE Iberia). These areas are of great biogeographic interest, being regarded as one of the richest European regions in terms of species diversity (Domínguez-Lozano et al. 1996, Médail and Quézel 1999, Reyjol et al. 2007). Insects in general and beetles in particular, make up the highest percentage of the biodiversity of this area. Close to 98% of the total Iberian fauna are invertebrates, and roughly 81% are insects (Ramos et al., 2001). This region is characterized by a wide variety of ecosystem types, including aquatic environments, some of which are rare on a European context (Millán et al. 2011). At the same time, freshwater ecosystems in this area are subject to high rates of human alteration and, therefore, of biodiversity loss (Allan and Flecker 1993, Saunders et al. 2002).
Design Description The database compiles all available taxonomic and distributional data of the families of strictly aquatic Coleoptera from the literature as well as museum and private collections, PhD theses, and other unpublished sources. The bibliographic references providing more records mainly are papers compiling distributional data for several families (Fery and Fresneda 2007) PhD thesis (Valladares 1988, Garrido 1990, Millán 1991) and some regional catalogues (Rico 1996, Ribera et al. 1996, Millán et al. 2002, Sánchez-Fernández et al. 2003). It is worth to note that the single most important source of records of this dataset was the IBE collection (Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, CSIC-UPF, Barcelona), with more than 7000 records.

The personnel involved in the project:

Andrés Millán
  • Principal Investigator

Sampling Methods

For the unpublished data, in most cases at each sampling site beetles were collected from a representation of all mesohabitat types with a kick-net of 500 µm mesh, following in most of the cases a multihabitat protocol (Jáimez-Cuéllar et al. 2002). Each kick-sample was examined in the field and successive samples were taken until no new morpho-types were found. The kick-sample contents were pooled into a unique site-sample, preserved in 70% or 96% ethanol and identified to species level in the laboratory.

Study Extent The Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. The frequency of sampling has been irregular, as data were obtained from bibliographic sources, field sampling and the revision of private collections.
Quality Control We generated distributional maps for each species that were checked by all members of the project and some external reviewers. Doubtful records were double-checked (identifications, geographical coordinates, etc.). In the case of doubtful data from published sources, the original papers were reviewed again, and in some cases (whenever possible) we requested additional information from the authors on the doubtful records.

Method step description:

  1. 1. Primary sources of the data 1a. Sampling 1b. Bibliographic compilation 1c. Public and private collections 2. Georeferenciation at 10x10 km grid cells Records were assigned to 10x10 km grid cells based on the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection and the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) from the spatial coordinates provided in the original sources. In those cases in which records did not attach spatial coordinates, the locations of the records were identified in Google Earth, translated to UTM coordinates and assigned to 10x10 km grid cells. Those records that could be not unambiguously georeferenced were discarded. 3. Introduction in the database 4. Elaboration of distributional maps 5. Checking for doubtful records. 6. Modifications of records (taxonomy or coordinates). 7. Elaboration of new distributional maps.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. 1) References cited within the metadata Allan JD, Flecker AS (1993) Biodiversity conservation in running waters. Bioscience 43: 32-43. Domínguez-Lozano F, Galicia-Herbada D, Moreno Rivero L, Moreno Saiz, JM, Sainz Ollero H(1996) Threatened plants in Peninsular and Balearic Spain: a report based on the EU Habitats Directive. Biological Conservation 76: 123-133. Fery H, Fresneda J (2007) Los Hydradephaga (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, Noteridae, Paelobiidae) de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa 41: 119-171. Garrido J (1990) Adephaga y Poliphaga acuáticos (Coleoptera) en la provincia fitogeográfica Orocantábrica (Cordillera Cantábrica, España). PhD thesis, León, Spain: Universidad de León. Jäch MA, Balke M (2008) Global diversity of water beetles (Coleoptera) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595: 419-442. Jáimez-Cuéllar P, Vivas S, Bonada N, Robles S, Mellado A, Álvarez M, Avilés J, Casas J, Ortega M, Pardo I, Prat N, Rieradevall M, Sáinz-Cantero CE, Sánchez-Ortega A, SuárezM, L, Toro M, Vidal-Albarca MR, Zamora-Muñoz C, Alba-Tercedor J (2002) Protocolo Guadalmed (PRECE). Limnética 21: 187–204. Médail F, Quézel P (1999) Biodiversity hotspots in the Mediterranean Basin: setting global conservation priorities. Conservation Biology 13: 1510-1513. Millán A (1991) Los Coleopteros Hydradephaga (Haliplidae, Gyrinidae, Noteridae y Dytiscidae) de la cuenca del río Segura, SE de la Península Ibérica. PhD thesis, Murcia, Spain: Universidad de Murcia. Millán A, Moreno JL, Velasco J (2002) Los coleópteros y heterópteros acuáticos y semiacuáticos de la provincia de Albacete. Catálogo faunístico y estudio ecológico. Instituto de Estudios Albacetenses. Albacete. Millán A, Abellán P, Ribera I, Sánchez D, Velasco J (2006) The Hydradephaga (Coleoptera) of the Segura basin (SE Spain): twenty five years studying water beetles. Memorie della Società Entomologica Italiana 85: 137-158. Millán A, Velasco J, Gutiérrez-Cánovas C, Arribas P, Picazo F, Sánchez-Fernández D, Abellán P (2011) Mediterranean saline streams in southeast Spain: What do we know? Journal of Arid Environments 75: 1352-1359. Ramos MA, Lobo JM, Esteban M (2001) Ten years inventorying the Iberian fauna: results and perspectives. Biodiversity and Conservation 10: 19-28. Reyjol Y, Hugueny B, Pont D, Bianco PG, Beier U, Caiola N, Casals F, Cowx I, Economou A, Ferreira T, Haidvogl G, Noble R, de Sostoa A, Vigneron T, Virbickas T (2007) Patterns in species richness and endemism of European freshwater fish. Global Ecology and Biogeography 16: 65-75. Ribera I (2000) Biogeography and conservation of Iberian water beetles. Biological Conservation 92: 131-150. Ribera I, Hernando C, Aguilera P. 1998. An Annotated checklist of the Iberianwater beetles (Coleoptera). Zapateri 8: 43-111. Ribera I, Fresneda J, Aguilera P, Hernando C (1996) Insecta: Coleoptera 8: Coleópteros acuáticos. Catalogus de la Entomofauna Aragonesa10: 3-22. Rico E. (1996) Disribución de los Elmidae (Coleoptera: Dryopoidea) en la Península Ibérica e islas Baleares. Graellsia 52:115-147. Sánchez-Fernández D, Abellán P, Velasco J, Millán A (2003) Los coleópteros acuáticos de la Región de Murcia. Catálogo faunístico y áreas prioritarias de conservación. Monografías de la S.E.A. Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. Zaragoza. Saunders D, Meeuwig J, Vincent AJ (2002) Freshwater protected areas: strategies for conservation. Conservation Biology 16: 30–41. Valladares LF 1988. Los palpicornia acuáticos de la provincia de León. PhD thesis, León, Spain: Universidad de León. 2) Publications using data from this dataset Arribas P, Andújar C, Abellán P, Velasco J, Millán A, Ribera I (2014) Tempo and mode of the multiple origins of salinity tolerance in a water beetle lineage. Molecular Ecology 23:360–373. Bilton DT (2011) Stictonectes rebeccae sp. n. from the Iberian Peninsula, with notes on its phylogenetic position (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae). Zootaxa 3188: 42–54. Abellán P, Sánchez-Fernández D, Picazo F, Millán A, Lobo JM, Ribera I (2013) Preserving the evolutionary history of freshwater biota in Iberian National Parks. Biological Conservation 162: 116–126. Hidalgo-Galiana A, Sánchez-Fernández D, Bilton DT, Cieslak A, Ribera I (2014) Thermal niche evolution and geographical range expansion in a species complex of western Mediterranean diving beetles. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14:187. Miguélez D, Valladares LF (2014) New data on the distribution of some species of Iberian Hydrochus Leach, with notes on their ecology (Coleoptera: Hydrochidae). Koleopterologische Rundschau 84: 221-232. Millán A, Picazo F, Fery H, Moreno JL, Sánchez-Fernández D (2013) Stictonectes abellani sp. n. (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Hydroporinae) from the Iberian Peninsula, with notes on the phylogeny, ecology and distribution of the Iberian species of the genus. Zootaxa 3745: 533–550. Millán A, Sánchez-Fernández D, Abellán P, Picazo F, Carbonell JA, Lobo JM, Ribera I (2014) Atlas de los coleópteros acuáticos de España peninsular. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Madrid. Sánchez-Fernández D, Abellán P, Picazo F, Millán A, Ribera I, Lobo JM (2013) Do protected areas represent species' optimal climatic conditions? A test using Iberian water beetles. Diversity and Distributions 19: 1407–1417. Sánchez-Fernández D, Aragón P, Bilton DT, Lobo JM (2012) Assessing the congruence of thermal niche estimations derived from distribution and physiological data: a test using diving beetles. Plos ONE, 7(10): e48163. Sánchez-Fernández D, Bilton DT, Abellán P, Ribera I, Velasco J, Millán A (2008) Are the endemic water beetles of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands effectively protected? Biological Conservation 141: 1612-1627. Sánchez-Fernández D, Lobo JM, Abellán P, Millán A (2011) Environmental niche divergence between genetically distant lineages of an endangered water beetle. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 103: 891-903. Sánchez-Fernández D, Lobo JM, Abellán P, Millán A (2011) How to identify future sampling areas when information is biased and scarce: an example using predictive models for species richness of Iberian water beetles. Journal for Nature Conservation 19: 54-59. Sánchez-Fernández D, Lobo JM, Abellán P, Ribera I, Millán A (2008) Bias in freshwater biodiversity sampling: the case of Iberian water beetles. Diversity and Distributions 14: 754-762. Sánchez-Fernández D, Lobo JM, Hernández-Manrique OL (2011) Species distribution models that do not incorporate global data misrepresent potential distributions: a case study using Iberian diving beetles. Diversity and Distributions 17: 163–171. Sánchez-Fernández D, Lobo JM, Millán A, Ribera I (2012) Habitat type mediates time to equilibrium in the geographical distribution of Iberian diving beetles. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 988-997.

Additional Metadata

The species included in this dataset but not considered in Millán et al. (2014) are: i) species endemic to the Balearic Islands (Deronectes brannanii (Schaufuss, 1869); Hydroporus lluci Fery, 1999; Hydraena (Hydraena) balearica Orchymont, 1930; Graptodytes kuchtai (Breit, 1908); Limnebius minoricensis Jäch, Valladares & García-Avilés, 1996; Ochthebius (Ochthebius) javieri Jäch, 2000; O. (Ochthebius) pedroi Jäch, 2000; Oulimnius echinatus Berthélemy, 1979), ii) species endemic to mainland Portugal (Rhithrodytes agnus agnus Foster, 1992; Rhithrodytes agnus argaensis Bilton & Fery, 1996; Hydraena (Hydraena) malagricola Jäch & Díaz, 2012; Hydraena (Hydraena) optica Jäch & Díaz, 2012; Hydraena (Hydraena) zezerensis Díaz Pazos & Bilton, 1994); iii) species present in mainland Portugal (Porhydrus vicinus (Aubé, 1838)) or the Balearic Islands (Ochthebius lobicollis Rey, 1885) but not in Iberian mainland; and iv) for taxonomic coherence we include in this dataset four species of Helophorus subgenus Empleurus that were not treated in Millan et al. 2014 due to their mostly terrestrial habits (Helophorus (Empleurus) hispanicus (Sharp, 1915); Helophorus (Empleurus) porculus (Bedel, 1881); Helophorus (Empleurus) rufipes (Bosc, 1791); Helophorus (Empleurus) schmidti A. Villa & G.B. Villa, 1838). It should be noted that some Iberian species such as Macronychus quadrituberculatus P.W.J. Müller, 1806, Haliplus (Haliplus) sibiricus Motschulsky, 1860, Berosus bispina Reyche & Saulcy 1856, Helophorus cincticollis Guillebeau 1893 and Hydraena assimilis Rey, 1803 are not included in this dataset due to the lack of geographical precision of their records in the study area. In addition, part of the data presented here are also included in the “Inventario Español de Especies Terrestres (MAGRAMA)”.

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide all the available distributional information on water beetles from the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. These data were compiled in the ESACIB (‘EScarabajos ACuáticos IBéricos’) database and published in the "Atlas de los Coleópteros Acuáticos de España Peninsular" (Millán et al. 2014). However, there are some mismatches between the species presented in Millán et al (2014) and those presented in this dataset (see the section “additional information” for details). Water beetles have high species richness in the Mediterranean region, inhabiting virtually every kind of fresh and brackish water habitat, from the smallest ponds to lagoons and wetlands, and from streams to irrigation ditches, large rivers, and reservoirs (e.g. Ribera et al. 1998, Ribera 2000, Millán et al. 2002). In comparison to other groups of freshwater invertebrates in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, water beetles are well known in their systematics and biogeography (Ribera et al. 1998, Ribera 2000, Millán et al, 2006). In this context, the ESACIB database was developed to provide all the available distributional information on water beetles from this region. This database represents the most complete information available for a major group of freshwater invertebrates in the study area.
Alternative Identifiers doi:10.15470/evi148