Related topics: species · insects

World seeing 'catastrophic collapse' of insects: study

Nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains.

99-million-year-old termite-loving thieves caught in Burmese amber

Eusocial insects, such as ants, social wasps and bees, and termites, include some of the most ecologically ubiquitous of terrestrial animals. The nests of these insects are well protected and provide a safe, communal space ...

The tiger beetle: Too fast to see

Speed is an asset for a predator. Except when that predator runs so fast that it essentially blinds itself.

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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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