Everyone loves beetles!
Nope, we’re not talking about the band, but about the insects.
Okay, the truth is that not everyone likes them. Some people find them creepy, but to some they are very interesting.
So if you belong to the people who find these creatures interesting, then read on. In the next five minutes, you will learn more about beetles, what they are and how they look like.
What are beetles?
Beetles are insects that form the order known as Coleoptera, within the superorder Endopterygota. One of the main thing that sets them apart from other insects are the front pair of wings which are hardened into wing cases.
There are over 400,000 species within the Coleoptera and that makes it the largest of all the orders. It comprises 25% of all the known animal species and 40% of all insects that have been reported.
New species are still being discovered.
Physical Appearance of Beetles
The word Coleoptera comes from the Greek words koleon, which means sheath, and pteron, which means wings. This refers to the hardened structure which is made up of the forewings.
Because of the large number of beetles, there is a great variety in their appearance. They range from the microscopic to the ones that are five inches in length.
It’s not just the size of the beetles that vary greatly. They also have a wide range of colors. There are beetles that are drab in appearance and there are others which have very bright colors.
Some of these insects are quite beautiful to look at. Their bright appearances make them very beautiful to look at.
The body of beetles have three sections:
When looking at a beetle, it might be difficult to distinguish the different parts. These sections may only be visible if you turn over a beetle.
- Most beetles have hard bodies though there are some that have soft bodies.
- The head of the beetle contains the eyes and the mouthparts, which sometimes includes mandibles. There are some species that have appendages on the mouth which are used for eating.
- The eyes of beetles are compound, which means that these are made up of many photoreceptors. Beetles also have antennae on their heads. These are used for feeling as well.
- Beetles are equipped with a pair of wings. As mentioned, the first pair is hardened which provides a protection to the second pair of wings which is kind of soft.
- Some beetles can fly, while others have lost this ability. With the beetles that are unable to fly, the forewings are already fused together.
- For the beetles that do fly, they raise their forewings to move it out of the way so they can use the wings that they actually use for flying.
- When it comes to the legs, beetles have three pairs. These legs vary when it comes to its appearance and how they are used.
- Some beetles have legs that oar-like which can be used for swimming. Others use their legs for digging, which requires specific adaptations. Still, others use their legs used for jumping, with their legs appearing muscular and enlarged.
What Beetles Eat
Another important thing that you ought to know about beetles is the kind of food that they eat.
One of the reasons why there are so many beetles in the world is because they have adapted to eating almost anything. Their food sources include:
- and other animals
Other beetles have become specialized eaters that they eat seeds and nectar. There are some that become pests which can defoliate large areas.
Still other beetles prey on other insects and small animals. Some play an important role in the environment, by helping to recycle some organic material.
The Life of Beetles
Beetles go through a complete metamorphosis. That means they go through four life stages as they develop.
Because of the large number of species, the appearance of the different life stages of beetles can vary greatly.
The length of the life stages also varies widely. The period of the beetles spending as eggs until they become adult is also quite different.
- Beetle larva has different appearances. Some have legs already while others do not. The thing that all beetle larvae have in common is that they all look very different from how they would turn out as adults.
- As beetles grow, they outgrow their skin which they have to shed. This continuous process of leaving the skin is known as molting. They will have to go through several molts before they reach the pupa stage.
- When they reach the pupa stage, the beetle will construct a cocoon around its body. When the beetle breaks out of its cocoon, it is a full-sized adult already.
Do you find them interesting too?
These are some of the things which you should know about beetles. As you can see, we have not scratched the surface when it comes to beetle-knowledge. There’s still so much to learn about this kind of insect, after all!
And before you close this tab, you might want to check out our list of the most horrifying bugs you can find. Here’s the full article for that.
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