Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Family Carabidae - Ground Beetles

Ground beetle - Elaphropus xanthopus Ground Beetle - Agonum Long Black 'Plated' Panagaeus fasciatus Say - Panagaeus fasciatus Harpalus gravis LeConte - Harpalus gravis Carabid #36 - Harpalus Punctured vs. Twelve-spotted vs. Hybrid Tiger Beetle - Cicindela duodecimguttata Small crimson  tiger beetle - Cylindera lemniscata
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. Classification in the Guide follows
Explanation of Names
Carabidae Latreille 1802
By far the largest family of Adephaga and one of the largest insect families, with ~34,000 spp. in 23 subfamilies an 110 tribes worldwide and ~2,440 spp. (incl. 64 non-native spp.) in almost 200 genera (15 subfamilies, 50 tribes) in our area(1)(2).
Overview of the North American 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
0.7-66 mm
Taxonomic Keys
North American tribes and genera in(3)
Canada & Alaska in(4) (profusely illustrated, covers most species across n. US)
Northeastern North America in(5) (excels in definitions and illustrations of the morphologies used in the keys.
South Carolina in(6) (also useful for much of the se. US)
Florida genera in(7) (also keys to species of a few genera)
Pacific Northwest in(8) (outdated; fine habitus drawings)
Online galleries:
Northern North America(9), New World(10), World(11)
Europe(12)(13) 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)
Adventive elements of Canadian fauna reviewed in(14)
a list of State/Provincial Records not reflected in(1) is maintained in(15) --please report new records there
All terrestrial habitats
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.
See Also
Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae)

Other beetles superficially resembling carabids:
Works Cited
1.Catalogue of Geadephaga (Coleoptera, Adephaga) of America, north of Mexico
Bousquet Y. 2012. ZooKeys 245: 1–1722.
2.Gleaning Geadephaga Gems –or– Only in (North) America!
3.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.
4.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.
5.Illustrated Identification Guide to Adults and Larvae of Northeastern North American Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)
Yves Bousquet. 2010. Pensoft Publishers.
6.Ground Beetles and Wrinkled Bark Beetles of South Carolina
Janet Ciegler. 2000. Clemson University.
7.The ground beetles of Florida (Coleoptera: Carabidae) including tiger beetles, tribe Cicindelini, by P.M. Choate
8.The Beetles of the Pacific Northwest
Hatch, M. 1953. University of Washington publications in biology, Volume 16. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
9.The Ground Beetles of Canada
10.Carabidae of the World
11.eAgra: Western Hemisphere Caraboidea
12.Benisch C. (2007-) – Beetle fauna of Germany
13.Schott C. Iconographie des coléoptères Carabidae d'Alsace
14.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.
15.Forum/Registry for Tracking New Records of North American Ground Beetles (Geadephaga)