Beetles (Coleoptera)

Greek "koleos" (sheath) + "ptera" (wings)
There are more species of beetle than any other order in the animal kingdom. Beetles include fireflies, scarabs, weevils, and lady bugs. Scientists have identified more than 300,000 different species of beetles but they are believed to include millions of species. Beetles have two pairs of wings, the front pair of which are hardened and protect the beetle's body. They also protect the more delicate and larger hind wings which lie beneath and are used for flying. The fore wings often meet in a straight line running down the back. Beetles range in size from a fraction of an inch long to 6 inches in length. Beetles live in soil, on plants, in decaying wood, and near water. Some beetles are scavengers and live on decaying plants and animals, many beetles are herbivores and have adapted to eat a particular part of a specific plant.

Which Coleoptera is it?    Keep Going

click for enlargement
Striped Cucumber Beetle
© 2004 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Red Flat Bark Beetle
© 2006 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Green Tortoise Beetle
© 2007 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Seven-spotted Lady Beetle
© 2004 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Blister beetle
© 2005 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Hollyhock Weevil
© 2004 Joyce Gross

Quick ID

  • Chewing mouthparts
  • Forewings often meet in a straight line down the back
  • Forewings are a hard shell, covering hindwings

More information about Beetles

University of California, Berkeley    Berkeley Natural History Museums
Copyright © 1995-2010 UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: Jan 2, 2017