Related topics: species · insects

Jewel beetles' sparkle helps them hide in plain sight

Bright colors are often considered an evolutionary tradeoff in the animal kingdom. Yes, a male peacock's colorful feathers may help it attract a mate, but they also make it more likely to be seen by a hungry jungle cat. Jewel ...

Scientists bolt down the defenses against ambrosia beetles

Exotic ambrosia beetles are costly pests of ornamental and fruit trees nationwide—from front-yard plantings of Japanese maple and oak to commercially grown orchards of cherry, peach, plum and even avocado.

Bark beetles control pathogenic fungi

Ants and honeybees share nests of hundreds or thousands of individuals in a very small space. Hence the risk is high that infectious diseases may spread rapidly. In order to reduce this risk, the animals have developed special ...

Researchers find secret of beetle success: Stolen genes

An international team of researchers has found what appears to be one of the secrets to evolutionary success for beetles—genes stolen from bacteria and fungi. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

Preventing future forest diebacks

Bark beetles, heat, drought, storms, and fires have damaged the German forests. Those who go for a walk there often encounter dead spruces and dried beech trees. "The forests are affected in all regions and need quick help," ...

Specific immune response of beetles adapts to bacteria

The immune system fends off pathogens in a wide variety of ways. For example, the immune system's memory is able to distinguish a foreign protein it has encountered before and to react with a corresponding antibody. Researchers ...

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Beetle

Adephaga Archostemata Myxophaga Polyphaga See subgroups of the order Coleoptera

Beetles are the group of insects with the largest number of known species. They are classified in the order Coleoptera (pronounced /ˌkoʊliˈɒptərə/; from Greek κολεός, koleos, "sheath"; and πτερόν, pteron, "wing", thus "sheathed wing"), which contains more described species than in any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting about 25% of all known life-forms. 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 350,000 species), and new species are frequently discovered. Estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at between 5 and 8 million. The largest family also belongs to this order—the weevils, or snout beetles, Curculionidae.

Beetles can be found in almost all habitats, but are not known to occur in the sea or in the polar regions. They interact with their ecosystems in several ways. They often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Some species are prey of various animals including birds and mammals. Certain species are agricultural pests, such as the Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata, the boll weevil Anthonomus grandis, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, and the mungbean or cowpea beetle Callosobruchus maculatus, while other species of beetles are important controls of agricultural pests. For example, beetles in the family Coccinellidae ("ladybirds" or "ladybugs") consume aphids, scale insects, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops.

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