There are hundreds of different kinds of beetles in the world, some of which are larger and more well-known than others. This article will provide you with a brief look at some of the more common beetles:
- Tiger Beetles
- Ground Beetles
- Predatory Diving Beetles
- Whirligig Beetles
- Burying Beetles
- Ladybird Beetles
- Darkling Beetles
- Click Beetles
The scientific name of the tiger beetle is Cicildelidae. They range in size from about ¾ inch to one inch and are very attractive. They sport brilliant colors, especially on the underside. You will often see these in sandy areas on days that are hot and sunny. They fly up from the ground and land a short distance away when you approach them. They are fast runners and have sharp mandibles for use in fighting off their enemies.
With the scientific name of Carabidae, the ground beetle has long legs, bulging eyes and sharp mandibles. This is a predatory beetle as it feeds on other insects, snails and animal carcasses. They are usually black or brown in color and are usually found near gravelling streams and under rotting logs and trees. The species of ground beetles found in the tropics have wings and are good at flying, but those in northern areas do not have any wings at all. They protect themselves by emitting a foul-smelling liquid from the hind part of the body.
Predatory Diving Beetles
Predatory diving beetles (dytiscidae) can be very tiny or almost two inches in length. As adults they have a rounded body that is black or dark brown. Although they primarily live in water, they can be found on land, especially on sidewalks at night. This is because they become confused by artificial lighting and sometimes mistake areas on the land as being a lake or a pond. Some of the males of this species have large round pads on their front legs. This is used to hold on to the females during mating.
Known as Gryinidae in the scientific world, the whirligig beetles resemble black apple pips in appearance. They are usually found in groups on the surface of the water near the edge of lakes and rivers. They have four eyes, two of which are above the surface of the water and the other two are below the water.
The best known burying beetles (Siliphidae) is the black and orange beetle. They bury the carcasses of small animals and then use the carcass as the place where they lay their eggs. Some of the beetles in this species are black and some do not have eyes.
Ladybird beetles of the Coccinellidae class do not have the prominent eyes and long hind legs of other species of beetles. They usually feed on small insects and aphids. Their bodies are broad and they often have red and black spots. You may find these beetles in homes and buildings in the fall as they are looking for a place to hibernate for the winter. Some migrate in groups and spend the winter in caves and rock piles.
This class of beetle, called the Tenebrionadae, is perhaps the largest group of typical beetles. They can be an inch or two in length and are usually black or brown in color. Their hind feet have four sections but the front feet have five sections each. Many of these beetles live on or near the ground.
These beetles of the Elateridae class get their name from the clicking sound that they make when they jump into the air and turn over on their backs. They can be black, brown or green in color and can range from 1/5 inch to two inches in length. In some parts of the world they are called fireflies because they emit an orange light from each side of the thorax as they fly through the air in the night.