Larvae and adults of many water scavenger beetle species are aquatic or semi-aquatic, but some live in fresh excrement of mammals, in soils rich in humus, or in rotting leaves. Adults are mainly herbivorous, but also eat dead animals tissues; some catch other insects. All larvae are carnivorous and cannibalistic if given the opportunity.
The aquatic species live in calm ponds, in quiet areas of lakes or in placid streams with abundant vegetation.
It is easy to mistake water scavenger beetles for the diving beetles, but they can be differentiated by the fact that the water scavenger beetles have the antennas shorter than the maxillary palps, that they go up head first on the surface to renew their air bubble (diving beetles go up the posterior part first), and that they swim by moving their legs alternately (diving beetles swim by moving their legs simultaneously).
The Bhutan stamp depicts a water scavenger beetle, although the legend indicates that the insect is a diving beetle.