Types of Beetles

Published on: Jan 31 2011 by Shenron

A beetle is a type of insect is often black in color having a solid, hard case on its back that covers it wings. There are several types of beetle. According to estimated figures, there are over 800,000 known species of insects out of which beetles make the largest group of insects. Beetles are categorized as: Kingdom-Animalia (Animals), Phylum-Arthropoda (Arthropods), Class-Insecta (Insects) and Order-Coleoptera (Beetles). Coleoptera is a term defined as ‘sclerotised/sheathed wings’. There are certain suborders of the order Coleoptera like Adephaga, Archpstemata, Polyphaga and Myxophaga. Each and every suborder comprise of many different families. Over 30,000 species of beetles are discovered in both United States and Canada.

Beetles are the common form of insects which can be found in any sort of habitat, i.e. from terrestrial to freshwater and from sea to Polar Regions. Beetles are normally known as predators; however, there are beetles which are considered as scavengers and parasites. Parasitic beetles usually lived on fungi and plants, on vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Leaf beetles usually rely on leafs for their food. Ground eaters are usually considered as predators. Most of the species of lady beetle family (family-Coccinellidae) are known to be predators, however, there are some species which feed on plants such as the pestiferous Mexican bean beetle and few of them feed on fungus.

Characteristics of Beetles

Beetles are found in several different sizes. On average a beetle can grow to the length ranging from 5 1/8 inches to 1/16 inches. Some species are lived in water while there are other species which like to live in land. There are certain species of beetles which are capable of flying. As far as body of the beetles is concerned, they have segmented bodies like those of arthropods and are segmented into three segments, i.e. head, abdomen and thorax. Thorax supports three legs and two pairs of wings. They possess compound eyes and antennae. Beetles are often described in terms of their hard exoskeleton and fore wings (elytra). The important point of these fore wings is that these are not meant for flying rather these are used to cover the hind body along with giving protection to the second layer of wings known as alae. Exoskeleton on the other hand is made up of sclerites (plates) separated by thin sutures. These are meant to provide flexibility and defense.

Different Types of Beetles

Out of 800,000 known species of the insects, 350,000 species belong to beetles. These are found all across the world. These 350,000 species of beetles are categorized into different types. Following are given some of the popular types of beetles.

Lady Beetles: Lady beetles are a member of family Coccinellidae. Lady beetles are commonly referred to as ladybird beetles or ladybugs. These are bright in colors with convex body which is oval or round. The larvae of lady beetles are long, full with tubercles or spines. Over 5,000 different known species of lady beetle spread all across the world. Majority of the species of lady beetles are known as predators, whereas some species feed on plants. Lady beetles are commonly found in red or orange colors having black spots.

Rove Beetles: Rove beetles are the member of family Staphylinidae. This family of beetles contains about 20,000 species of beetles. These are black in color with small, lean bodies. These beetles possess extremely short elytra which barely covers abdominal segments on their bodies. Rove beetles are mostly ground beetles which dwell in stones, in loose soil or under leaves. Although, most of the species of rove beetles are predators, there are few scavengers as well in the group.

Ground Beetles: Ground beetles are the member of family Carabidae. This family is known as the biggest family of the beetles with 40,000 species. Ground beetles are found in black or brown colors with a size ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch or longer. Ground beetles dwell in the soil or stones with damp environment. Ground beetles are mostly nocturnal by nature and spend most of the daytime under the stones, debris (plant), logs, or other places. They feed on caterpillars and aphids and prey them during the night time. However, there are species which are plant eaters and their food contains pollen, plants decay, and fungi. These are not liked by farmers as they cause severe damage to crops.

Soldier Beetles: These are the members of family Cantharidae. Soldier beetles possess long and soft bodies. Over 4,500 species of soldier beetles are found in different parts of the world. One can find these beetles on the flowers most of the time. They nourish on aphids or soft-bodied insects. The larvae of soldier beetles nourish on the eggs of grasshopper, maggots and even on small caterpillars.

Fireflies: These beetles are the member of family Lampyridae which comprises of about 2,000 species of fireflies. Fireflies are medium-sized beetles with dark color. They possess flexible and soft elytra. These are also nocturnal in nature and spend much of their daytime on the leaves and come out for prey. The larvae of the fireflies nourish on slugs and snails, cutworms, earworms, and also on leaf beetle larvae. The adult beetles of this variety produce flashing light during coupling.

Leaf Beetles: Leaf beetles make a large group in the family of beetles with 35,000 species. These are found in variety of colors and shapes with a body having oval or stretched oval body shape. As the name suggests, the adult and larvae of leaf beetles nourish on plants. They mostly lived on leaves and flowers of the plant. There large number can cause a substantial damage to the plants. Some of the major varieties of leaf beetles include agricultural and garden pests: bean leaf beetles, corn rootworms, asparagus beetles, cucumber beetles and so on.

Click Beetles: These beetles are included in the family Elateridae. They possess sleek, lean and hard body. One can find them easily on the leaves and flowers of different plants. The larvae of click beetles dwell in soil, under the rind of the tree or in plants decay. Few species of click beetles are scavenger, few are predators and few of them feed on seeds and roots.

Scarab Beetles: Scarab beetles are the member of family Scarabaeidae. This family contains over 16,500 species of beetles. Chafers, dung beetles and many other are categorized as scarab beetles. Their body is convex and stretched oval shape. Scarab beetles feed on plants. The larvae of the scarab beetles nourish on the roots. Some of the types of scarab beetles include rose chafer, May beetles, Japanese beetles and June beetles.

Apart from above mentioned types, there are certain other types of beetles which include: weevils (family-Curculionidae), long-horned beetles (family-Cerambycidae), metallic wood-boring beetles (family-Buprestidae), belid weevils (family-Belidae), wedge-shaped beetles (family-Rhipiphoridae), pintail beetles (family-Mordellidae), pollen beetles (family-Melyridae), jewel beetles (family-Buprestidae) and sap beetles (family-Nitidulidae).

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