Coleoptera: Beetles

(from the Greek: coleos = sheath + ptera = wings)

All beetles have distinctive front wings (called "elytra") which form a covering or sheath over the hind wings. Usually the elytra Beetlesare hard and meet in a straight livne down the center of the back and extend to the tip of the abdomen. An important exception: the elytra of rove beetles are short, leaving most of the abdomen exposed. Some beetles, such as lightning beetles, soldier beetles and blister beetles, have elytra tht are not as hard as those of most other beetles. Most beetles can fly, but the flying wings are hiddent under the elytra when the beetles are at rest. All beetles have chewing mouthparts, but the jaws of weevils are at the end of a snout. The snout is sometimes long and thin and resembles a sucking beak. The antennae of beetles may be long or short and of many differetn shapes. Beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, and the larvae of some have special common names, such as white grubs and wireworms. Coleoptera contains the most member of any insect order, with over 300,000 species worldwide. Some common families include: scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae),leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), lady beetles (Coccinelidae), and ground beetles (Carabidae).

Click here for photos of common Florida beetles.