|by Marcia Malory|
Beetles are the most common type of animal in the world
They are insects that belong to the order Coleoptera.
There are about 350,000 known species of beetle.
Beetles make about 40% of all known insect species and about one fourth of all the known species of animals on Earth.
There are more species of beetle than of any other order of animal in the world.
Beetles can be found in almost every habitat on Earth.
DNA evidence shows that beetles first appeared on earth around 300 million years ago.
Beetles have very hard front wings that act like shields. The name Coleoptera is Greek for "shield wing"
The modified forewings of beetles are known as elytra.
These elytra protect beetles from heat, wind and moisture loss, enabling them to live in many different environments.
Only the hind wings, known as alae, are used for flight.
Some beetles cannot fly at all.
Beetles undergo complete metamorphosis.
The scarab, a species of dung beetle, was sacred to the ancient Egyptians.
Dung beetles belong to the family Scarabaeidae.
As their name suggests, dung beetles eat feces. They also eat mushrooms and decaying plant matter.
The Goliath beetle, which is also a member of the family Scarabaeidae, is one of the largest insects in the world. A Goliath beetle larva can weigh more than 3 ½ ounces. The Goliath beetle lives in Africa in the wild.
Another member of this family, the rose chafer, visits European rose gardens during the summer, feeding on pollen and nectar and on the leaves and petals of flowers.
The flamboyant flower beetle, also known as the striped love beetle, which lives in equatorial Africa, is known for its iridescent coloring.
Both the rose chafer and the flamboyant flower beetle belong to a subfamily known as flower beetles. These beetles eat pollen, nectar and flower petals.
Ladybugs, sometimes called ladybirds, feed on aphids, which are pests in gardens.
Bark beetles reproduce in tree bark. The female makes a tunnel in the bark, where she lays here eggs. When the larvae hatch, they bore their own tunnels, which are at right angles to the original tunnel.
The coffee berry borer is extremely damaging to the world's coffee crops. Female coffee berry borers lay their eggs inside maturing coffee seeds. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the seeds.
Oil beetles, or blister beetles, excrete drops of an oily substance from its joints. This substance is called hemolymph, and it contains a poison known as cantharidin. If cantharidin touches human skin, it causes the skin to blister.
Once an oil beetle larva hatches, it grabs onto a bee that comes near it. The bee carries the beetle larva back to its nest. The oil beetle larva then eats the bee larvae and the honey that has been stored in the nest.