Beetle

For other uses, see Beetle (disambiguation).
Suborders
Adephaga
Archostemata
Myxophaga
Polyphaga
See subgroups of the order Coleoptera

Beetles are one of the main groups of insects. Their order, Coleoptera (meaning "sheathed wing"), has more species in it than any other order in the entire animal kingdom. Forty percent of all described insect species are beetles (about 350,000 species), and new species are regularly discovered. Estimates put the total number of species — described and undescribed — at between 5 and 8 million. This is why, when J. B. S. Haldane, a British geneticist, was asked what his studies of nature revealed about God, he replied, "An inordinate fondness for beetles".

Beetles can be found in almost all habitats, but are not known to occur in the sea or in the polar regions. They have a major impact on the ecosystem in three ways: feeding on plants and fungi, breaking down animal and plant debris, and eating other invertebrates. Certain species are agricultural pests in some areas, for example the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), while other species are important controls of agricultural pests, for example the lady beetles (family Coccinellidae) consume aphids, fruit flies, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops.

Anatomy

Overview of the dorsal anatomy of a Beetle

Bearing in mind the wide diversity and number of species the anatomy of beetles is quite uniform. Beetles are generally characterised by a particularly hard exoskeleton, and the hard wing-cases (elytra) which tend to cover the hind part of the body and protect the second wings, the alae. The elytra are not used in flying, but generally must be raised in order to move the hindwings. In some cases the ability to fly has been lost, characteristically in families such as Carabidae and Curculionidae. After landing, the hindwings are folded below the elytra.

In a few families, both the ability to fly and the wing-cases have been lost, with the best known example being the "glowworms" of the family Phengodidae, in which the females are larviform throughout their lives.

The bodies of beetles are divided into three sections, the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, and these in themselves may be composed of several further segments.

The eyes are compound, and may display some remarkable adabtability, as in the case of the Whirligig beetles (family Gyrinidae), in which the eyes are split to allow a view both above and below the waterline. The dorsal appendage aids the beetle in stalking prey.

Antennae can vary greatly and may be filiform, claviform, flabellate or genticulate.

Oxygen is taken in via a tracheal system: this takes air in through a series of tubes along the body which is then taken into increasingly finer fibres. Pumping movements of the body force the air through the system. Although beetles have blood, it is not used for oxygen transference, although a heart is present.

Development

Larva of the cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha)

Beetles are endopterygotes with complete metamorphosis. The larva of a beetle is often called a grub and represents the principal feeding stage of the life-cycle.

The eggs of beetles are minute but may be brightly coloured, they are laid in clumps and there may be from several dozen to several thousand eggs laid by a single female.

Once the egg hatches the larvae tend to feed voraciously, whether out in the open such as with Ladybird larvae, or within plants such as with leaf beetle larvae.

As with lepidoptera, beetle larvae pupate for a period, and from the pupa emerges a fully formed beetle or imago.

In some cases there are several transitory larvae stages and this is known as hypermetamorphosis; examples include the blister beetles (family Meloidae).

Physiology

There are few things that a beetle somewhere will not eat, even inorganic matter may be consumed.

Some beetles are highly specialised in their diet; for example, the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) opts almost entirely to colonize plants of the potato family (Solanaceae). Others are generalists, eating both plants and animals. Ground beetles (family Carabidae) and rove beetles (family Staphylinidae) are entirely carnivorous and will catch and comsume small prey such as earthworms and snails.

Decaying organic matter is a primary diet for many species, this can range from dung which is consumed by coprophagous species such as the scarab beetles (family Scarabaeidae), to dead animals which are eaten by necrophagous species such as the carrion beetles (family Silphidae). The beneficial impact to the general ecology of these two activities is huge.

Various techniques are employed by many species for retaining both air and water supplies. Predaceous diving beetles (family Dytiscidae) may be the most common example, they employ a technique of retaining air when diving between the abdomen and the elytra.

Reproduction

The larval period of beetles varies between species but can be as long as several years. Adults have an extremely variable lifespan, again, from weeks to years.

Beetles may display some extremely intricate behaviour when mating. Smell is thought to play significant importance in the location of a mate.

Conflict can play a part in the mating rituals for example in species such as burying beetles (genus Nicrophorus) where localised conflicts between males and females rage until only one of each is left, thus ensuring reproduction by the strongest and fittest. Many beetles are territorial and will fiercly defend their small patch of territory from intruding males.

Pairing is generally short but in some cases will last for several hours. During pairing sperm cells are transferred to the female to fertilise the egg.

Parental care

As befitting such a large order, the parental care between species varies widely. It ranges from the simple laying of eggs under a leaf to scarab beetles, which construct impressive underground structures complete with a supply of dung to house and feed their young.

There are other notable ways of caring for the eggs and young, such as those employed by leaf rollers, who bite sections of leaf causing it to curl inwards and then lay the eggs, thus protected, inside.

Generally the number of eggs laid is an indicator of the level of parental care subsequently employed, as they are inversely proportional.

Predation

Beetles and larvae have evolved to employ a variety of different strategies for avoiding being eaten.

Many employ simple camoflage to avoid being spotted by predators. These include the leaf beetles (family Chysomelidae) that have a green colouring very similair to their habitat on tree leaves.

A number of longhorn beetles (family Cerambycidae) bear a striking resemblance to wasps, thus benefitting from a measure of protection. Large ground beetles by contrast will tend to go on the attack, using their strong mandibles to forcibly persuade a predator to seek out easier prey.

Many species, including lady beetles and blister beetles, can secrete poisonous substances to make them unpalatable.

Evolutionary history and classification

Beetles entered the fossil record during the Lower Permian, about 265 million years ago.

The four extant suborders of beetle are these:

These suborders diverged in the Permian and Triassic. Their phylogenetic relationship is uncertain, with the most popular hypothesis being that Polyphaga and Myxophaga are most closely related, with Adephaga an outgroup to those two, and Archostemata an outgroup to the other three.

The extraordinary number of beetle species poses special problems for classification, with some families consisting of thousands of species and needing further division into subfamilies and tribes.

See the article subgroups of the order Coleoptera for a complete list of families.

Impact on humans

Pests

Damage to beans by larvae of the common bean weevil, Acanthoscelides obtectus

There are several serious agricultural and household pests represented by the order, these include :

Beneficial organisms

Some farmers introduce beetle banks to foster and provide cover for beneficial beetles.

Scarab beetles in Egyptian culture

Ancient Egyptian scene depicting a scarab beetle

The scarab beetles (family Scarabaeidae) are coprophagous beetles.

It seemed to the ancient Egyptians that young scarab beetles emerged spontaneously from the burrow where they were born. Therefore they were worshipped as "Khepri", which means "he who came forth." This creative aspect of the scarab was associated with the creator god Atum. The ray-like antennae on the beetle's head and its practice of dung-rolling caused the beetle to also carry solar symbolism. The scarab beetle god Khepri was believed to push the setting sun along the sky in the same manner as the beetle with his ball of dung.

Many thousands of amulets and stamp seals have been excavated that depict the scarab. In many artifacts, the scarab is depicted pushing the sun along its course in the sky. During and following the New Kingdom, scarab amulets were often placed over the heart of the mummified deceased. The amulets were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreated the heart to, "do not stand as a witness against me."

"Le Scarabée Sacré", the opening essay in Jean-Henri Fabre's famous Souvenirs Entomologiques, deals with the insect.

Collecting

Beetle collection at the Melbourne Museum, Australia

The study of beetles is called coleopterology, and its practitioners coleopterists. See the list of list of notable coleopterists for more information.

There is a thriving industry in the collection of wild caught species for amateur and professional collectors.


Gallery

References

Journals


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. If the Piraka get their hands on the Mask of Life, then an ancient evil could be awakened... There is a thriving industry in the collection of wild caught species for amateur and professional collectors. The Toa Nuva arrive and quickly join up with a small group of Matoran that are opposing the Piraka. See the list of list of notable coleopterists for more information. Their goal is the powerful Mask of Life that is supposedly somewhere on the island. The study of beetles is called coleopterology, and its practitioners coleopterists. Meanwhile, rogue Dark Hunters called Piraka have come to the island of Voya Nui, pretending to be Toa.

"Le Scarabée Sacré", the opening essay in Jean-Henri Fabre's famous Souvenirs Entomologiques, deals with the insect. The Toa Nuva stay there briefly before they are sent on a new quest to keep the Great Spirit Mata Nui from dying. The amulets were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreated the heart to, "do not stand as a witness against me.". The Matoran, Turaga, and Toa Takanuva all return to Metru Nui and repopulate the city under Turaga Dume. During and following the New Kingdom, scarab amulets were often placed over the heart of the mummified deceased. Here is what we know so far:. In many artifacts, the scarab is depicted pushing the sun along its course in the sky. So far, only bits and pieces of information about the Voya Nui storyline have emerged.

Many thousands of amulets and stamp seals have been excavated that depict the scarab. For a detailed synopsis, see BIONICLE Book 3: Legends. The scarab beetle god Khepri was believed to push the setting sun along the sky in the same manner as the beetle with his ball of dung. before it becomes permanent. The ray-like antennae on the beetle's head and its practice of dung-rolling caused the beetle to also carry solar symbolism. Now the Toa have to rescue the Matoran and find a cure for their mutation.. Therefore they were worshipped as "Khepri", which means "he who came forth." This creative aspect of the scarab was associated with the creator god Atum. They return to find the city conquered by hordes of Visorak spiders, who are able to capture them and turn them into monstrous half-beast Toa Hordika.

It seemed to the ancient Egyptians that young scarab beetles emerged spontaneously from the burrow where they were born. Web of Shadows: The Matoran have been captured and the Toa Metru have been forced to flee Metru Nui. The scarab beetles (family Scarabaeidae) are coprophagous beetles. Now the Toa are on the run, and they discover something that will change Metru Nui forever. Some farmers introduce beetle banks to foster and provide cover for beneficial beetles. But Dume declares them imposters and calls for their arrest. There are several serious agricultural and household pests represented by the order, these include :. Legends of Metru Nui: The Morbuzakh is no more, and the Toa Metru go to present themselves to the city's leader, Turaga Dume.

See the article subgroups of the order Coleoptera for a complete list of families. It's up to six brand-new Toa Metru to save the city, if the Vahki order enforcement squads don't stop them first... The extraordinary number of beetle species poses special problems for classification, with some families consisting of thousands of species and needing further division into subfamilies and tribes. A number of Matoran have disappeared, and so has the city's protector, Toa Lhikan. Their phylogenetic relationship is uncertain, with the most popular hypothesis being that Polyphaga and Myxophaga are most closely related, with Adephaga an outgroup to those two, and Archostemata an outgroup to the other three. Stop the Morbuzakh: Metru Nui has been under attack by a plant creature called the Morbuzakh. These suborders diverged in the Permian and Triassic. And when the Turaga were mere Matoran, chosen to save their people - as Toa...

The four extant suborders of beetle are these:. When Makuta cast Mata Nui into eternal slumber.. Beetles entered the fossil record during the Lower Permian, about 265 million years ago. The Turaga begin to tell the tales of a thousand years ago, when the Matoran lived in the great city of Metru Nui.. Many species, including lady beetles and blister beetles, can secrete poisonous substances to make them unpalatable. For a detailed synopsis, see BIONICLE Book 2: Adventures and see BIONICLE Book 2.5: Adventures. Large ground beetles by contrast will tend to go on the attack, using their strong mandibles to forcibly persuade a predator to seek out easier prey. If the mask's destined wearer, the Toa of Light, is not found soon, then Makuta's reign may never end.

A number of longhorn beetles (family Cerambycidae) bear a striking resemblance to wasps, thus benefitting from a measure of protection. Makuta immediately unleashes his most destructive weapons, the Rahkshi, in an attempt to retrieve the mask before it can be used against him. These include the leaf beetles (family Chysomelidae) that have a green colouring very similair to their habitat on tree leaves. Search for the Seventh Toa: The island of Mata Nui is enjoying a time of unparalleled peace when a powerful Kanohi Mask is discovered. Many employ simple camoflage to avoid being spotted by predators. And with the Kal stripping the Toa Nuva of their elemental powers, the Toa may not be able to stop the swarms a second time... Beetles and larvae have evolved to employ a variety of different strategies for avoiding being eaten. But the threat of the Bohrok is not over: six elite Bohrok called Bohrok-Kal are seeking to free the Bahrag from their prison and unleash the swarms once again.

Generally the number of eggs laid is an indicator of the level of parental care subsequently employed, as they are inversely proportional. Coming of the Kal: In the aftermath of the battle with the Bahrag, the Toa have been transformed into Toa Nuva, more powerful than ever. There are other notable ways of caring for the eggs and young, such as those employed by leaf rollers, who bite sections of leaf causing it to curl inwards and then lay the eggs, thus protected, inside. The Toa will have to discover the secret of the swarms if they are to save their people from destruction. It ranges from the simple laying of eggs under a leaf to scarab beetles, which construct impressive underground structures complete with a supply of dung to house and feed their young. Directed by the Bahrag, Cahdok and Gahdok, the swarms have the mission of reducing the island to bare rock. As befitting such a large order, the parental care between species varies widely. Beware the Swarms: Makuta has been stopped, but a new threat has arisen: swarms of creatures called Bohrok are rampaging across the island's surface.

During pairing sperm cells are transferred to the female to fertilise the egg. With the help of the village elders, the Turaga, the Toa must now face their destiny in defeating Makuta and awakening the sleeping Great Spirit. Pairing is generally short but in some cases will last for several hours. For a thousand years, the island has been in the dark grip of Makuta, who has been controlling the Rahi wildlife in order to intimidate the native Matoran. Many beetles are territorial and will fiercly defend their small patch of territory from intruding males. Six Heroes, One Destiny: The story begins with the six Toa arriving on the tropical island of Mata Nui, named after the Great Spirit. Conflict can play a part in the mating rituals for example in species such as burying beetles (genus Nicrophorus) where localised conflicts between males and females rage until only one of each is left, thus ensuring reproduction by the strongest and fittest. For a detailed synopsis, see BIONICLE Book 1: Chronicles.

Smell is thought to play significant importance in the location of a mate. 1, #2. Beetles may display some extremely intricate behaviour when mating. --the Turaga, Bionicle comic series vol. Adults have an extremely variable lifespan, again, from weeks to years. Six heroes with one destiny: to defeat Makuta and save our world.". The larval period of beetles varies between species but can be as long as several years. The Great Beings sent six mighty heroes - the Toa - to Mata Nui.

Predaceous diving beetles (family Dytiscidae) may be the most common example, they employ a technique of retaining air when diving between the abdomen and the elytra. "Yet all was not lost. Various techniques are employed by many species for retaining both air and water supplies. Then Makuta claimed the world, and darkness and death were everywhere. The beneficial impact to the general ecology of these two activities is huge. Makuta cast a spell that made Mata Nui sleep. Decaying organic matter is a primary diet for many species, this can range from dung which is consumed by coprophagous species such as the scarab beetles (family Scarabaeidae), to dead animals which are eaten by necrophagous species such as the carrion beetles (family Silphidae). Makuta coveted this world and all his brother had.

Ground beetles (family Carabidae) and rove beetles (family Staphylinidae) are entirely carnivorous and will catch and comsume small prey such as earthworms and snails. "But Mata Nui had been followed by his brother, the Dark Spirit Makuta. Others are generalists, eating both plants and animals. He walked the world, and marveled at its beauty, and watched over all living things. Some beetles are highly specialised in their diet; for example, the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) opts almost entirely to colonize plants of the potato family (Solanaceae). "In the time before time, when the world was new, the Great Spirit Mata Nui descended from the skies like a burning star. There are few things that a beetle somewhere will not eat, even inorganic matter may be consumed. "This is the tale of Mata Nui, as it has been told for so many years.

In some cases there are several transitory larvae stages and this is known as hypermetamorphosis; examples include the blister beetles (family Meloidae). Lego agreed to stop commercially using the Māori language [2], which included a number of existing Bionicle words being changed or removed:. As with lepidoptera, beetle larvae pupate for a period, and from the pupa emerges a fully formed beetle or imago. In 2001, Lego faced legal action by Māori activists from New Zealand for illegally patenting Māori words used in naming the Bionicle product range [1]. Once the egg hatches the larvae tend to feed voraciously, whether out in the open such as with Ladybird larvae, or within plants such as with leaf beetle larvae. . The eggs of beetles are minute but may be brightly coloured, they are laid in clumps and there may be from several dozen to several thousand eggs laid by a single female.
.

The larva of a beetle is often called a grub and represents the principal feeding stage of the life-cycle. BIONICLE is derived from the English words biological and chronicle, thus making them eat, sleep, smell, hear, and feel. Beetles are endopterygotes with complete metamorphosis. They are called: LEGENDS OF METRU NUI,and WEB OF SHADOWS. Although beetles have blood, it is not used for oxygen transference, although a heart is present. Bionicle has made two more movies since the first. Pumping movements of the body force the air through the system. It was also the first Lego product to have its own motion picture MASK OF LIGHT.

Oxygen is taken in via a tracheal system: this takes air in through a series of tubes along the body which is then taken into increasingly finer fibres. Though the Lego Group had previously created building sets based on Lucasfilm's Star Wars films, the Bionicle line was the first Lego project to get a story developed in-house, and was the first in the company's history intended to last for over two or three years. Antennae can vary greatly and may be filiform, claviform, flabellate or genticulate. It is also currently rumored that the summer 2006 sets will break with tradition and come in colors other than the six described above. The dorsal appendage aids the beetle in stalking prey. Although every major group of six so far follows this color scheme, most "bad guy" sets have different elemental affiliations or none at all. The eyes are compound, and may display some remarkable adabtability, as in the case of the Whirligig beetles (family Gyrinidae), in which the eyes are split to allow a view both above and below the waterline. Most characters; primarily hero Toa, elder Turaga, and everyman Matoran; are matched to one of six elements, commonly identified by a certain color or prefix:.

The bodies of beetles are divided into three sections, the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, and these in themselves may be composed of several further segments. Characters in the toy line are based on a set of classical elements and Polynesian mythology. In a few families, both the ability to fly and the wing-cases have been lost, with the best known example being the "glowworms" of the family Phengodidae, in which the females are larviform throughout their lives. The toys are posable, articulated characters and share some pieces with the Lego Technic line. After landing, the hindwings are folded below the elytra. Both of these lines had similar throwing disks and characters based on elements. In some cases the ability to fly has been lost, characteristically in families such as Carabidae and Curculionidae. The Bionicle idea originated from the earlier toy lines Slizers (also known as Throwbots) and Roboriders.

The elytra are not used in flying, but generally must be raised in order to move the hindwings. The line was launched in 2001. Beetles are generally characterised by a particularly hard exoskeleton, and the hard wing-cases (elytra) which tend to cover the hind part of the body and protect the second wings, the alae. Bionicle is a line of toys made by the Lego Group that is marketed towards those in the 7-16 year-old range. Bearing in mind the wide diversity and number of species the anatomy of beetles is quite uniform. "Tohunga" (the race of villagers, replaced with the term "Matoran"). . "Puku" (character name, respelled as "Pewku").

Certain species are agricultural pests in some areas, for example the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), while other species are important controls of agricultural pests, for example the lady beetles (family Coccinellidae) consume aphids, fruit flies, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops. "Maku" (character name, respelled as "Macku"). They have a major impact on the ecosystem in three ways: feeding on plants and fungi, breaking down animal and plant debris, and eating other invertebrates. "Koli" (name of a sport, respelled as "kolhii"). Beetles can be found in almost all habitats, but are not known to occur in the sea or in the polar regions. "Kewa" (a type of bird, Kewa birds became one and the same as Gukko birds). Haldane, a British geneticist, was asked what his studies of nature revealed about God, he replied, "An inordinate fondness for beetles". "Jala" (character name, respelled as "Jaller").

S. "Huki" (character name, respelled as "Hewkii"). B. Blue characters are identified with water and use the prefix "Ga-". This is why, when J. Green characters are identified with air and use the prefix "Le-". Estimates put the total number of species — described and undescribed — at between 5 and 8 million. White characters are identified with ice and use the prefix "Ko-"; these characters also wear light shades of gray and blue.

Forty percent of all described insect species are beetles (about 350,000 species), and new species are regularly discovered. Black characters are identified with earth and use the prefix "Onu-"; secondary colors for these characters include purple, orange, and shades of gray. Their order, Coleoptera (meaning "sheathed wing"), has more species in it than any other order in the entire animal kingdom. Brown characters are identified with stone and use the prefix "Po-"; these characters also wear tan and sometimes black. Beetles are one of the main groups of insects. Red characters are identified with fire and use the prefix "Ta-"; many characters also have orange, black, or yellow as secondary colors. The Coleopterist (UK).

Harde, A Field Guide in Colour to Beetles ISBN 0706419375 Pages 7-24. W. K. Thomas, American Beetles (CRC Press, 2001-2).

and Michael C. Arnett, Jr. Ross H. Engel, Evolution of the Insects ISBN 0521821495.

David Grimaldi, Michael S. Entomological Society of America, Beetle Larvae of the World ISBN 0643055061. Poul Beckmann, Living Jewels: The Natural Design of Beetles ISBN 3791325280. Large ground beetles (family Carabidae) are predators of caterpillars and, on occasion, adult weevils, whereas smaller species attack eggs, small caterpillars, and other pest insects.

While both adult and larval lady beetles found on crops prefer aphids, they will, if aphids are scarce, use food from other sources, such as small caterpillars, young plant bugs, aphid honeydew, and plant nectar. The larvae of lady beetles (family Coccinellidae) are often found in aphid colonies. Citrus long-horned beetle. Asian long-horned beetle.

It is most usual for death watch beetle attacks to originate in timber of large dimensions, and it is thought that the actual introduction of the pest into buildings takes place at the time of construction. It attacks hardwoods such as oak and chestnut, and always where some fungal decay has taken or is taking place. The death watch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum) is of some considerable importance as a pest of wooden structures in older buildings in Britain. The spread of the fungus by the beetle has led to the devastastation of elm trees in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, notably North America and Europe.

They are important elm pests because they carry Dutch elm disease (the fungus Ophiostoma ulmi) as they move from infected breeding sites to feed on healthy elm trees. The elm bark beetles, Hylurgopinus rufipes and Scolytus multistriatus (in the family Scolytidae) attack elm trees. Crops are destroyed and the beetle can only be treated by employing expensive pesticides, many of which it has begun to develop immunity to. As well as potatoes, this can be any one of a number of plants from the potato family (Solanaceae) such as nightshade, tomato, aubergine and capsicum.

Adults mate before overwintering deep in the soil, so that when they emerge the following spring, females can lay eggs immediately, once a suitable host plant has been found. The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is a notorious pest of potato plants. Myxophaga contains about 100 described species in four families, mostly very small, including skiff beetles (Hydroscaphidae) and minute bog beetles (Sphaeriusidae). Archostemata contains four families of mainly wood-eating beetles, including reticulated beetles (Cupedidae) and telephone-pole beetles (Micromalthidae).

In these beetles the testes are tubular and the first abdominal sternum (a plate of the exoskeleton) is divided by the hind coxae (the basal joints of the beetle's legs). Adephaga contains about 10 families of predatory beetles, includes ground beetles (Carabidae), predacious diving beetles (Dytiscidae) and whirligig beetles (Gyrinidae). These beetles can be identified by the cervical sclerites (hardened parts of the head used as points of attachment for muscles) absent in the other suborders. Polyphaga is the largest suborder, containing more than 300,000 described species in more than 170 families, including rove beetles (Staphylinidae), scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae), blister beetles (Meloidae), stag beetles (Lucanidae), and true weevils (Curculionidae).

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