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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Intertidal Rove Beetle Bledius spectabilis

Unusual in that it lives in the intertidal zone after which it is named, the intertidal rove beetle is a small arthropod that has an elongated, smooth black body. Short reddish brown wing cases, or elytra, protect the intertidal rove beetle's wings but leave most of the flexible abdomen exposed. A mobile abdomen allows the intertidal rove beetle to squeeze into narrow crevices and also to push its wings up under the elytra.

Most rove beetles are active either by day (diurnal) or by night (nocturnal), but the life of the intertidal rove beetle is dictated by the tides. It builds a vertical, wine-bottle shaped burrow in the sand with a living chamber about in (5 mm) diameter and retreats into it whenever the tide comes in. The burrow entrance is so narrow—about in (2 mm) in diameter—that the air pressure within prevents any water from entering. The female intertidal rove beetle lays her eggs in side chambers within the burrow and remains on guard, until her offspring have hatched and are mature enough to leave and construct their own burrows.

Intertidal Rove Beetle habitat mapzoom image
  • Subphylum Insecta
  • Length Up to in (2 cm)
  • Habitat Intertidal sandy and muddy shores
  • Distribution Coasts of the British Isles and northern Europe