Family Carabidae - Ground Beetles
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Adephaga (Ground and Water Beetles)
Family Carabidae (Ground Beetles)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
(tiger beetles) used to be treated as a separate family; some workers treat Rhysodidae
as part of Carabidae.
BugGuide classification follows Bousquet (2012)(1)
Carabidae is by far the largest family of Adephaga and one of the largest insect families. In North America are reported 2,441 species (2,678 including subspecies) which includes 64 non-native species in almost 200 genera arranged in 15 subfamilies and 50 tribes (1)
]. Worldwide there are about 34,000 species known in 23 subfamilies an 110 tribes (1)
sample local faunas: WI 489 species (3)
but 499 in an update, GA 531, AL 345, FL 420 (4)
, SC 479 (5)
, NH ~430 (6)
, OK 354 (7)
, CA >700 (8)
Overview of the North American fauna: TO BE UPDATED
Taxa not yet in the guide: native (*), non-native (+); most names are linked to images available on other sites.
Tribe Bembidiini Amerizus
Tribe Pterostichini Abaris
Subtribe Harpalina Stenomorphus
Tribe Platynini Calathus
North American tribes and genera in the highly recommended source (9)
Canada & Alaska in (10)
is profusely illustrated, covers most species across northern United States.
Northeastern North America in (11)
is outdated, with several errors, without illustrations, but still useful to the beginner.
Northeastern North America in (12)
excels in definitions and illustrations of the morphologies used in the keys.
South Carolina in (5)
is also useful for much of southeastern United States.
Florida in (4)
provides a key to the genera and the species of a few genera.
Pacific Northwest in (13)
has many fine habitus drawings but is outdated and the keys are unusually structured.
Northern North America(14)
, New World(15)
gives a good idea of Holarctic carabid diversity at a glance.
Larvae: Carabidae vs Staphylinidae:
If you have a larva in hand (well, with some magnification, probably), you can tell carabids from staphs because the former have 6-segmented legs and often 2 claws, while staphs have only 5-segmented legs and always only 1 claw. Also, nearly all carabids have the urgomphi solidly attached to segment 9 (no joint at the base), and at least some of the ones that do have them articulated basally have more than 2 segments, which staphs never have. Staphs almost always have the urogomphi articulated and they have only one or two segments; the ones with solid urogomphi are all little guys (including pselaphines) and quite different in form from carabid larvae. (Margaret Thayer, pers. comm. to Jim McClarin; also comment here
All terrestrial habitats worldwide
Most adults rapidly pursue their prey (other insects) at night. A few eat pollen, berries, and seeds. Most larvae are predators, but some are herbivores or parasitoids.
Adventive elements of Canadian fauna reviewed in(19)
The "Tiger Beetles" comprise a popular subfamily of Carabidae detailed at (20)
BugGuide maintains an ongoing Forum/Registry for Tracking New Records of North American Ground Beetles (Geadephaga)(21)
Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae
Other beetles superficially resembling carabids:
|10.||The ground-beetles (Carabidae, excl. Cicindelinae) of Canada and Alaska, parts 1—6|
C.H. Lindroth. 1961. Opuscula Entomologica Supplementa XX, XXIV, XXIX, XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV.
|11.||The Beetles of Northeastern North America, Vol. 1 and 2.|
Downie, N.M., and R.H. Arnett. 1996. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
|13.||The Beetles of the Pacific Northwest|
Hatch, M. 1953. University of Washington publications in biology, Volume 16. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
|19.||Synopsis of adventive species of Coleoptera (Insecta) recorded from Canada. Part 1: Carabidae|
Klimaszewski J., Langor D., Batista R., Duval J.-A., Majka C.G., Scudder G.G.E., Bousquet Y. 2012. Pensoft Series Faunistica #103, 96 pp.