Information On Beetles


Beetle Information

planet beetle

Beetles (coleoptera)

Coleoptera means "sheath wings," a reference to the armored forewings, called elytra, which are either hardened or leathery and, when unfolded, meet in a straight line down the middle of the back, protecting the membranous hind wings that are used for flight.

Most species of beetles can fly, most do so only to cover short distances or to reach vegetation close to the ground. The rest of their time is spent crawling on or near the ground or on vegetation or swimming.


Beetles have two prominent compound eyes, and antennea of various shapes and sizes that arise between the eyes.

The metamorphosis of beetles is complete-in other words, they are holometabolous- and the larvae do not resemble the adults.

Aside from the preceding information, it is very difficult to generalize about beetles. There are more than 300,000 known species of beetles in the world, a number approximately equal to that of known plant species.

All beetles have chewing mouth parts with well-developed mandibles that, depending on the species, are variously adapted to partake of a wide variety of foods. Most beetles are herbivorous or scavengers, but there are also many predators among them. Many of the plant -eaters are destructive pests of crops and forests and in large can cause significant damage, either directly or transmitting diseases. Other problem beetles infest stored food, cloting, carpets, or museum specimens.


Weevils- Family Curculionidae

Most weevils have a prominent, down-turned snout, protruding forward from the head, at the end of which chewing mouthparts are located. Most species have elbowed, clubbed antennae, extending laterally from midway on the snout, which often has a groove to accommodate the long first antennae segments. Ranging in length from 1mm to 40 mm, weevils are the largest family in the animal kingdom, with more than 40,000 species worldwide. All are plant eaters, and many are significant agricultural pests.

Beetles makeup about 40% of all known insects, and about one-third of all known animal species. You can find them in every conceivable habitat, except for saltwater and polar icecaps. It is possible that beetles are the most successful organisms on earth.


Stag Beetle-Family Lucanus cervus

This is the largest British beetle and very well known, although it is not very common. Only the males have the great antler-like mandibles. Those of the smaller female are short and much more effective for biting. The males use their jaws as a threat, opening them wide when molested, and also use them in rather ineffective combats between each other, as these two are doing. The larvae live for several years in dead tree stumps.

In every sort of dead and decaying matter will be found the beetle. They use the decaying matter for food for themselves and their young. A dead small animal is soon discovered by the beetles known as Sexton beetles or by the Carrion beetles. The beetles, working in pairs, will quickly bury the animal, shoveling away the earth from beneath it with their legs and flattened heads. Once buried the corpse is used as food by the beetles and the female klays her eggs on it so that it provides food for the young.


Maybug-Family Melolontha melolontha

This large and very harmful beetle is common in Britain and extends eastward to the area north of the Black Sea. The larvae are large white grubs which feed on the roots of grass and other plants, including seedling trees. The beetlees fly at night and rest by day on the branches of trees and bushes, feeding on the leaves. The curious fan-like antennae of the male are shown in this photograph.

Dead wood is also eaten by some beetles. They are providing a useful service, but, like the termites, they make no distinction between the trunk of a fallen tree or the wood of a house. The Death-watch and Furniture beetles burrow as larvae in structural timber, riddling and weakening it, and do a great amount of damage.


Mealworms-Family-Tenebrio molitor are the larvae of the darkening beetles, and are often reared in laboratories for study of insects, and as bait for fish. The larvae are pests in cereal, grains, bran, and other stored foods, where they eventually pupate and emerge as winged adults.

The Future of the Beetle

The Beetle being as prolific as it is seems to be holding it's own. As the human population expands and as long as we continue to use chemicals, beetle populations will dwindle.



Barking Dog Driving You Nuts?!?
Learn the easy solution here!

Insect Links


Insect Index

Insect Alert!

Teacher's Resources

Insect Classification

Insect Sites

Insect Movies

the bug club


Other Links,  All Rights Reserved