The European species of Anacaena Thomson are examined. Five species are recognised: A. bipustulata (Marsham), A. globulus (Paykull), A. limbata (Fabricius), A. lutescens (Stephens) and A. rufipes (Guilleheau). It is shown that rufipes and lulescens are distinct species, and not a var. of globulus and a synonym of limbala respectively. The species are keyed and redescribed. Synonymy is given on the basis of examination of type-material. Lectotypes are designated for Anacaena carinata Thomson, 1870, A. immatura Abeille de Perrin, 1901, A. globula var. nitidior Kuwert, 1890, A. variabilis Sharp, 1870, Brachypalpus ambiguus Rey, 1885, Laccobius marshami Stephens, 1839, Hydrophilus bipustulatus Marsham, 1802, Hydrobius foveolatus Stephens, 1829, H. lutescens Stephens, 1829, H. ochraceus Stephens, 1829, Sphaeridium limbalum Fabricius, 1792, and Philydrus nitidus Heer, 1841. Anacaena immalura, A. variabilis, Brachypalpus ambiguus, Laccobius marshami, Hydrobius lutescens var. ß sordens and Philydrus nitidus are placed in synonymy with A. lutescens. A. globulus glabricollis d'Orchymont, 1940 (nec Schaufuss) and A. jordanensis Burmeister, 1985 are placed in synonymy with A. rufipes. Distributional records and data on habitat are given.