Ground Beetles

By Elhassan Anas El-Sabry

Carbidae (or ground beetles) is the largest known family of beetles. It includes about 40,000 different species worldwide with sizes ranging between 4 & 20 mm. Their colors are mostly black with some metallic shades; however they include species of blue, green, red and yellow reflections or even a combinativ6-2on between all of this. Their colors appear mainly on their outer pair of wings (elytra) which in its place protects the second pair of wings that allows beetles to fly. Therefore, beetles have to first open their elytra, use their antennae to detect air current and finally stretch the inner wings to fly.

Most ground beetles hibernate as adults and start to reproduce in spring or early summer. They usually die off after that and a new generation appears. There are many places that are suitable habitats for ground beetles. They live in forests, woodlands, grasslands, agricultural land or even in our houses. Due to the diversity of their habitats, ground beetles have a significant dissimilarity in connection with food habits. Most of them are omnivorous, and so, caterpillars, snails, slugs, dead remains of insects and even other kinds of beetles can be parts of their diet as well as vegetable matter like fungi, fruit, nectar and pollen. Some species also feed on wood, leather or cloth.

Sight and smell are ground beetles’ developed senses. They can smell using antennae and hear by feeling vibrations using sensory hairs. When danger is detected, they produce a highly irritant volatile fluid. Others produce a squeaky buzzing sound or use their well-developed mandibles. However, they are not known to bite people.

It might be quite useful to have some ground beetles around as they help in natural control of many garden and crop pests. In addition, they feed on larvae of harmful insects inside houses. Therefore, extensive attack on them using insecticides is not recommended. So, before you kill a beetle you find in your home, think twice – is it a ground beetle? Do I need it in my backyard??

 

References:

 Gordon, Ground Beetles: – Carabidae, 27-2-2007, 17-7-2007,

http://www.earthlife.net/insects/carabids.html

 Day, Eric, Ground Beetle, August 1996, 17-7-2007,

http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/groundbe.html

Kendall, David, Ground Beetles & Tiger Beetles, 6-6-2005, 17-7-2007,

http:// www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk/carab.htm

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