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Family Carabidae - Ground Beetles

Ground beetle - Galerita bicolor Large carabid - Calosoma scrutator Rhadine? - Rhadine Bembidion spectabile - Amerizus spectabilis Big black beetle - Harpalus pensylvanicus Small carabid - Bembidion Pterostichus? - Patrobus longicornis Tiger from near tree-line in the Siskiyou Mnts - Cicindela depressula
Classification
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
Cicindelinae (tiger beetles) used to be treated as a separate family; some workers treat Rhysodidae as part of Carabidae.
BugGuide classification follows Bousquet (2012)(1)
Explanation of Names
Carabidae Latreille 1802
Numbers
By far the largest family of Adephaga and one of the largest insect families with ca. 2,430 spp. (incl. 64 non-native) in almost 200 genera (assigned to 15 subfamilies and 50 tribes) in our area, ~34,000 spp. worldwide, arranged into 23 subfamilies an 110 tribes(1)
sample local faunas: WI 489 spp.(2), GA 531, AL 345, FL 420(3), SC 479(4), NH ~430(5), OK 354(6), CA >700(7)...
Overview of our fauna: TO BE UPDATED per(1)
Family Carabidae
Taxa not yet in the guide: native (*), non-native (+); most names are linked to images available on other sites.
Subfamily Paussinae
Subfamily Gehringiinae
Subfamily Omophroninae
Subfamily Nebriinae
Subfamily Carabinae
Subfamily Cicindelinae
Subfamily Loricerinae
Subfamily Elaphrinae
Subfamily Promecognathinae
Subfamily Scaritinae
Subfamily Broscinae
Subfamily Trechinae
Subfamily Harpalinae
Tribe Harpalini
   Subtribe *Pelmatellina *Pelmatellus
Tribe Licinini
   Subtribe Dicaelina Diplocheila, Dicaelus
   Subtribe Licinina Badister
Tribe Lebiini
   Subtribe Apenina Apenes
   Subtribe Cymindidina Cymindis
   Subtribe Lebiina Lebia, Hyboptera
   Subtribe Nemotarsina Nemotarsus
   Subtribe Metallicina Euproctinus
   Subtribe Agrina Agra
Subfamily Pseudomorphinae
Subfamily Brachininae
Size
0.7-66 mm
Identification
Keys:
NA genera in(8)
Canada & Alaska in(9)
ne. NA in(10) (outdated, with many errors, but still useful) and (11) (new illustrated guide)
SC in(4) (good for much of the southeast)
FL in(3) (key to genera and species of a few genera)
Pacific Northwest in(12)
Online galleries:
n. NA(13), New World(14), world(15)
Europe(16)(17) (give 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)
Range
worldwide
Food
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.
Remarks
Adventive elements of Canadian fauna reviewed in(18)

BugGuide maintains an ongoing Forum/Registry for Tracking New Records of North American Ground Beetles (Geadephaga)(19)
See Also
Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae)

Other beetles superficially resembling carabids:
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Catalogue of Geadephaga (Coleoptera, Adephaga) of America, north of Mexico
Bousquet Y. 2012. ZooKeys 245: 1–1722.
2.An annotated checklist of Wisconsin ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)
Peter W. Messer. 2009. The Great Lakes Entomologist 42(1-2): 30-61.
3.The ground beetles of Florida (Coleoptera: Carabidae) including tiger beetles, tribe Cicindelini, by P.M. Choate
4.Ground Beetles and Wrinkled Bark Beetles of South Carolina
Janet Ciegler. 2000. Clemson University.
5.University of New Hampshire Insect and Arachnid Collections
6.Checklist of the Coleoptera of Oklahoma
7.California Beetle Project
8.American Beetles, Volume I: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia
Arnett, R.H., Jr., and M. C. Thomas. (eds.). 2000. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
9.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.
10.The Beetles of Northeastern North America, Vol. 1 and 2.
Downie, N.M., and R.H. Arnett. 1996. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
11.Illustrated Identification Guide to Adults and Larvae of Northeastern North American Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)
Yves Bousquet. 2010. Pensoft Publishers.
12.The Beetles of the Pacific Northwest
Hatch, M. 1953. University of Washington publications in biology, Volume 16. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
13.The Ground Beetles of Canada
14.Carabidae of the World
15.eAgra: Western Hemisphere Caraboidea
16.Benisch C. (2007-) kerbtier.de – Beetle fauna of Germany
17.Schott C. Iconographie des coléoptères Carabidae d'Alsace
18.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.
19.Forum/Registry for Tracking New Records of North American Ground Beetles (Geadephaga)