Related topics: species · insects

Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom

Bark beetles are currently responsible for killing an unprecedented number of trees in forests across Europe and North America. Why the beetle populations first explode to decline naturally after a few years is largely unknown. ...

New species of loquat-killing beetle identified

If you live in an area where winter temperatures routinely drop below freezing, you may have never even heard of the evergreen loquat tree and its delicious fruit. But it may be troubling to hear that a new bark beetle pest ...

Dung beetles use wind compass when the sun is high

Researchers have shown for the first time that an animal uses different directional sensors to achieve the highest possible navigational precision in different conditions. When the sun is high, dung beetles navigate using ...

Destructive insect outbreaks and cod collapse

When fundamental changes started to happen in three ecosystems in North America, people reacted: They completely stopped pollution, forestry and fishing. But these measures were futile; it was impossible to bring the ecosystems ...

Parasites dampen beetle's fight or flight response

Beetles infected with parasitic worms put up less of a fight against simulated attacks from predators and rival males, according to a study by Felicia Ebot-Ojong, Andrew Davis and Elizabeth Jurado at the University of Georgia, ...

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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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