These beetles live in fresh water, either still or slow-running, and seem to prefer water with vegetation. They are dark-coloured (brown to black) on their back and wing cases (elytra) and yellow on their abdomen and legs. The male's wing cases are shiny, while those of the female are finely grooved. A voracious predator, this beetle hunts a wide variety of prey, including other insects, tadpoles, and small fish.
They are able fliers, usually at night, when they use the reflection of moonlight to locate new water sources, this location method can sometimes cause them to land on wet roads or other hard wet surfaces.
Before they dive, they collect air bubbles in their wing cases which goes through the spiracles. The jaws of a great diving beetle are strong compared to their body size.
Illustrated and described in detail as Plate 99, British Entomology by John Curtis (entomologist) (published London, 1814-39) labelled "Dyticus dimidiatus"