Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Sponsor
The Coleopterists Society supports BugGuide.


TaxonomyBrowseInfoImagesLinksBooksData

Order Coleoptera - Beetles

Atholus sp.? - Margarinotus Zebra Flower Longhorn Beetle - Typocerus zebra Soldier Beetle  - Rhagonycha nigrohumeralis Fancy Click Beetle - Selonodon 27may2012-col1 - Podabrus fayi what species? - Altica Weevil 4 - Otiorhynchus rugosostriatus Unknown weevil - Sitona
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Other Common Names
grubs (larvae only), white grubs (especially larvae of scarab beetles)
Spanish: escarabajo
French: coléoptère
Pronunciation
Co`le*op"te*ra (coe-lee-OP-ter-rah)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
The Coleoptera have recently undergone massive taxonomic changes(1)(2). Many groups that were once at family rank are now considered subfamilies and vice versa.
If you can't find your group:
search with a wildcard (e.g. Pselaphi* - the former Pselaphidae is now treated as a subfamily of the Staphylinidae), OR
go to the Taxonomy tab and click the "view all" link to see the list of all the subordinate taxa on one page

Recent changes not reflected (or not fully implemented) in American Beetles
Scydmaenidae sunk into Staphylinidae
Ceratocanthidae sunk into Hybosoridae
Use Kateretidae (Short-winged Flower Beetles) for Brachypteridae
Use Sphaeriusidae (Minute Bog Beetles) for Microsporidae
Languriidae sunk into Erotylidae
Monommatidae and Colydiidae sunk into Zopheridae
Bruchidae sunk into Chrysomelidae (had a separate family chapter (121)(2) but were also included into the key to subfamilies(2) and the synopsis of the higher classification of NA Chrysomelidae(2))
Rhysodidae are increasingly treated within Carabidae (arrangement not yet implemented in the Guide)
Derodontoidea per Lawrence et al. (2010)
Added Ischaliidae
Added Akalyptoischiidae
Added Mauroniscidae
Ithyceridae sunk into Brentidae
More changes are to be expected based on new findings presented in(3), although the suprafamilial taxa used in the Guide seem secure at this point(4)
Explanation of Names
Coleoptera is derived from the Greek koleon (κολεον) meaning "sheath" and ptera (πτερα) meaning "wings". Aristotle already called beetles 'koleopteros' (κολεοπτερος) to refer to the front wings modified to protect the membranous hind wings(elytra).
English beetle means "the little biter", derived ultimately from Old English bitela, from bītan, "to bite" (Patridge, 1958)
Beetle genera defined in Blatchley (1910)(5)
Numbers
The largest order in the animal kingdom, with more than 350,000 described species worldwide, representing about 40% of known insects. About 25,000 described (close to 28,000 estimated) spp. in ~130 families are known from our area(6)(7), ~8200 in Canada(8)
Genera missing in the Guide are listed in(9)
Size
0.3-200 mm
Identification
Adult: elytra (forewings) horny or leathery, almost always meeting in a straight line down the back and covering the membranous hindwings that are usually longer than the elytra, and folded beneath the elytra when not in use. In some groups the elytra are short and do not fully cover the abdomen. One or both pairs of wings are rarely reduced or absent. The antennae typically 11-segmented (rarely more or less) and variable in shape. The tarsi 3- to 5-segmented. Abdomen commonly has 5 segments visible, sometimes with up to 8. Mouthparts of adults and most larvae adapted for chewing.
Larva: variable in form, hardness of body, and development of appendages, but commonly with hardened (sclerotized) head capsule, 3 pairs of thoracic legs and soft body
SCROLL DOWN FOR OVERVIEW OF CLASSIFICATION
Number in [ ] following family name corresponds to American Beetles chapter(1)(2)

Order Coleoptera
Suborder Archostemata
Family Cupedidae - Reticulated Beetles [1]

Family Micromalthidae - Telephone-pole Beetles [2]

Suborder Myxophaga
Family Sphaeriusidae - Minute Bog Beetles [3]

Family Hydroscaphidae - Skiff Beetles [4]

Suborder Adephaga
Family Rhysodidae - Wrinkled Bark Beetles [5]

Family Carabidae - Ground Beetles [6]



Family Gyrinidae - Whirligig Beetles [7]

Family Haliplidae - Crawling Water Beetles [8]

Family Trachypachidae - False Ground Beetles [9]

Family Noteridae - Burrowing Water Beetles [10]

Family Amphizoidae - Trout-stream Beetles [11]

Family Dytiscidae - Predaceous Diving Beetles [12]

Suborder Polyphaga
Superfamily Hydrophiloidea
Family Hydrophilidae - Water Scavenger Beetles [13]

Family Sphaeritidae - False Clown Beetles [14]

Family Histeridae - Clown Beetles [15]


Superfamily Staphylinoidea
Family Hydraenidae - Minute Moss Beetles [16]

Family Ptiliidae - Featherwinged Beetles [17]


Family Agyrtidae - Primitive Carrion Beetles [18]

Family Leiodidae - Round Fungus Beetles [19]


Family Silphidae - Carrion Beetles [21]

Family Staphylinidae - Rove Beetles [20 & 22]



Superfamily Scarabaeoidea
Family Lucanidae - Stag Beetles [23]

Family Diphyllostomatidae - False Stag Beetles [24]

Family Passalidae - Bess Beetles [25]

Family Glaresidae - Enigmatic Scarab Beetles [26]

Family Trogidae - Hide Beetles [27]

Family Pleocomidae - Rain Beetles [28]

Family Geotrupidae - Earth-Boring Scarab Beetles [29]

Family Ochodaeidae - Sand-loving Scarab Beetles [30]

Family Hybosoridae - Scavenger Scarab Beetles [31 & 32]

Family Glaphyridae - Bumble Bee Scarab Beetles [33]

Family Scarabaeidae - Scarab Beetles [34]



Superfamily Scirtoidea
Family Eucinetidae - Plate-thigh Beetles [35]

Family Clambidae - Minute Beetles [36]

Family Scirtidae - Marsh Beetles [37]


Superfamily Dascilloidea
Family Dascillidae - Soft-bodied Plant Beetles [38]

Family Rhipiceridae - Cicada Parasite Beetles [39]

Superfamily Buprestoidea
Family Schizopodidae - False Jewel Beetles [40]

Family Buprestidae - Metallic Wood-boring Beetles [41]


Superfamily Byrrhoidea
Family Byrrhidae - Pill Beetles [42]

Family Elmidae - Riffle Beetles [43]

Family Dryopidae - Long-toed Water Beetles [44]

Family Lutrochidae - Travertine Beetles [45]

Family Limnichidae - Minute Marsh-loving Beetles [46]

Family Heteroceridae - Variegated Mud-loving Beetles [47]

Family Psephenidae - Water Penny Beetles [48]

Family Ptilodactylidae - Toe-winged Beetles [49]

Family Chelonariidae - Turtle Beetles [50]

Family Eulichadidae - Forest Stream Beetles [51]

Family Callirhipidae - Callirhipid Cedar Beetles [52]

Superfamily Elateroidea
Family Artematopodidae - Soft-bodied Plant Beetles [53]

Family Brachypsectridae - Texas Beetles [54]

Family Cerophytidae - Rare Click Beetles [55]

Family Eucnemidae - False Click Beetles [56]


Family Throscidae - False Metallic Wood-boring Beetles [57]

Family Elateridae - Click Beetles [58]


Family Lycidae - Net-winged Beetles [59]

Family Telegeusidae - Long-lipped Beetles [60]

Family Phengodidae - Glowworm Beetles [61]

Family Lampyridae - Fireflies [62]


Family Omethidae - False Soldier Beetles [63]

Family Cantharidae - Soldier Beetles [64]

Superfamily Derodontoidea
Family Jacobsoniidae - Jacobson's Beetles [65]

Family Derodontidae - Tooth-necked Fungus Beetles [66]

Family Nosodendridae - Wounded-tree Beetles [67]

Superfamily Bostrichoidea
Family Dermestidae - Carpet Beetles [68]

Family Bostrichidae - Horned Powder-post Beetles [69]

Family Anobiidae - Death-watch and Spider Beetles [70]

Superfamily Lymexylonoidea
Family Lymexylidae - Ship-timber Beetles [71]

Superfamily Cleroidea
Family Trogossitidae - Bark-gnawing Beetles [72]

Family Cleridae - Checkered Beetles [73]

Family Mauroniscidae - Mauroniscid Beetles [ ]

Family Melyridae - Soft-winged Flower Beetles [74]

Superfamily Cucujoidea
Family Sphindidae - Cryptic Slime Mold Beetles [75]

Family Kateretidae - Short-winged Flower Beetles [76]

Family Nitidulidae - Sap-feeding Beetles [77]


Family Smicripidae - Palmetto Beetles [78]

Family Monotomidae - Root-eating Beetles [79]

Family Silvanidae - Silvanid Flat Bark Beetles [80]

Family Passandridae - Parasitic Flat Bark Beetles [81]

Family Cucujidae - Flat Bark Beetles [82]

Family Laemophloeidae - Lined Flat Bark Beetles [83]

Family Phalacridae - Shining Flower Beetles [84]

Family Cryptophagidae - Silken Fungus Beetles [85]

Family Erotylidae - Pleasing Fungus Beetles [86 & 87]


Family Byturidae - Fruitworm Beetles [88]

Family Biphyllidae - False Skin Beetles [89]

Family Bothrideridae - Dry Bark Beetles [90]

Family Cerylonidae - Minute Bark Beetles [91]

Family Endomychidae - Handsome Fungus Beetles [92]

Family Coccinellidae - Ladybird Beetles [93]


Family Corylophidae - Minute Hooded Beetles [94]


Family Akalyptoischiidae - Akalyptoischiid Scavenger Beetles

Family Latridiidae - Minute Brown Scavenger Beetles [95]

Superfamily Tenebrionoidea
Family Mycetophagidae - Hairy Fungus Beetles [96]

Family Archeocrypticidae - Cryptic Fungus Beetles [97]

Family Ciidae - Minute Tree-fungus Beetles [98]

Family Tetratomidae - Polypore Fungus Beetles [99]

Family Melandryidae - False Darkling Beetles [100]


Family Mordellidae - Tumbling Flower Beetles [101]

Family Ripiphoridae - Wedge-shaped Beetles [102]

Family Zopheridae - Ironclad Beetles [103, 104 & 105]


Family Tenebrionidae - Darkling Beetles [106]


Family Prostomidae - Jugular-horned Beetles [107]

Family Synchroidae - Synchroa Bark Beetles [108]

Family Oedemeridae - False Blister Beetles [109]

Family Stenotrachelidae - False Longhorn Beetles [110]

Family Meloidae - Blister Beetles [111]


Family Mycteridae - Palm and Flower Beetles [112]

Family Boridae - Conifer Bark Beetles [113]

Family Pythidae - Dead Log Beetles [114]


Family Pyrochroidae - Fire-Colored Beetles [115]

Family Salpingidae - Narrow-waisted Bark Beetles [116]

Family Anthicidae - Antlike Flower Beetles [117]

Family Aderidae - Antlike Leaf Beetles [118]

Family Ischaliidae - Broad-hipped Flower Beetles

Family Scraptiidae - False Flower Beetles [119]

Superfamily Chrysomeloidea
Family Cerambycidae - Longhorned Beetles [120]


Family Megalopodidae - Megalopodid Leaf Beetles [122]

Family Orsodacnidae - Ravenous Leaf Beetles [123]

Family Chrysomelidae - Leaf Beetles [121 & 124]



Superfamily Curculionoidea
Family Nemonychidae - Pine Flower Snout Beetles [125]

Family Anthribidae - Fungus Weevils [126]


Family Belidae - Cycad Weevils [127]

Family Attelabidae - Leaf Rolling Weevils [128]

Family Brentidae - Straight-snouted Weevils [129 & 130]


Family Curculionidae - Snout and Bark Beetles [131]

Range
worldwide and across N. Amer.
Habitat
virtually any terrestrial and freshwater habitat
Food
various plant, fungal, and animal matter
Life Cycle
complete metamorphosis; otherwise, extremely diverse
Remarks
Many phytophagous beetles are serious agricultural and forestry pests; a number of predaceous beetles are considered beneficial because they help control pest populations. Some beetles feed on museum specimens, clothing, and stored food. A few species transmit bacterial and fungal diseases to plants.
See Also
Dermaptera (earwigs) have pincer-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen.
Heteroptera (true bugs) have mouthparts adapted for sucking, not chewing; front wings rarely meet in a straight line.
Blattaria (cockroaches)
Print References
Taxonomy is based primarily on American Beetles(1)(2) (see additions & corrections above; see also this discussion ); some changes may be upcoming based on Bouchard et al. (2011)(3).
Useful reference sources (other than already cited):
Guides:(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16) |aquatic:(17)(18)
Faunal lists:(8)(19)(20)(21)(22)
Non-native beetles:(23)(24)
Internet References
type specimen images at(25)(26)
Family profiles (in Spanish)
Miscellanea:(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)
Helpful sites covering Palaearctic fauna:(34)(35)(36)(37)
Works Cited
1.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.
2.American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea
Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.). 2002. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
3.Family-group names in Coleoptera (Insecta)
Bouchard P. et al. 2011. ZooKeys 88: 1–972.
4.Phylogeny of the Coleoptera based on morphological characters of adults and larvae
Lawrence J.F., Ślipiński A., Seago A.E., Thayer M.K., Newton A.F., Marvaldi A.E. 2011. Annales Zoologici (Warszawa) 61(1): 1-217.
5.An illustrated descriptive catalogue of the Coleoptera or beetles (exclusive of the Rhynchophora) known to occur in Indiana.
Blatchley, W. S. 1910. Indianapolis,Nature Pub. Co.
6.Beetle fauna of the United States and Canada
Marske K.A., Ivie M.A. 2003. The Coleopterists Bulletin 57(4): 495-503.
7.Synopsis of the described Coleoptera of the world
8.Checklist of beetles (Coleoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Second edition
Bousquet Y., Bouchard P., Davies A.E., Sikes D.S. 2013. ZooKeys 360: 1–44.
9.Coleoptera Wish List: Let's fill the gaps
10.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
11.How to Know the Beetles
Ross H. Arnett, N. M. Downie, H. E. Jaques. 1980. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
12.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
13.Introduction to North American Beetles
Charles S. Papp. 1984. Entomography Pubns.
14.The Beetles of Northeastern North America, Vol. 1 and 2.
Downie, N.M., and R.H. Arnett. 1996. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
15.Beetles associated with stored products in Canada: An identification guide
Bousquet Y. 1990. Research Branch Agriculture Canada, Publication 1837.
16.Beetles of Eastern North America
Arthur V. Evans. 2014. Princeton University Press.
17.The aquatic Coleoptera of North Carolina: a biologist's handbook with standard taxonomic effort levels. Version 2.1
Beaty S.R. 2011. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 56 + 12 pp.
18.The Water Beetles of Florida
Epler J.H. 2010. Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Tallahassee. 414 pp.
19. A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.
Peck & Thomas. 1998. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. 180 pp.
20.The Beetle Fauna of Rhode Island, an Annotated Checklist
Derek Sikes. 2004. Rhode Island Natural History Survey.
21.Checklist of Coleoptera Known from Great Smoky Mountains National Park
22.List of Coleoptera Collected in Latimer County, Oklahoma by Karl Stephan (2002)
23.Review of adventive species of Coleoptera (Insecta) recorded from eastern Canada
Klimaszewsky J., Langor D., Majka C.G., et. al. 2010. Pensoft Series Faunistica 94, 272 pp., 20 colour plates, 189 figs.
24.Exotic bark- and wood-boring Coleoptera in the United States: recent establishments and interceptions
Haack R.A. 2006. Can. J. For. Res. 36(2): 269–288.
25.Smithsonian Department of Systematic Biology: Entomology
26.MCZ Type Database @ Harvard Entomology
27.Majka C.G. Atlantic Canada Coleoptera
28.Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Coleoptera. Volume I-VII
Henry Walter Bates et al. 1881. Bernard Quaritch Limited, London.
29.Gimmel M.L., Carlton C.E. (2011) Checklist of the Coleoptera of Louisiana
30.University of New Hampshire Insect and Arachnid Collections
31.Checklist of the Coleoptera of Oklahoma
32.Coleoptera species pages developed for the GSMNP project
33.Pickering J. et al. (20??-) Nearctic Coleoptera data base on Discover Life
34.Köhler F., ed. (2000-2011) The beetle gallery
35.Benisch C. (2007-) kerbtier.de – Beetle fauna of Germany
36.Borowiec L. (2007-2013) Iconographia Coleopterorum Poloniae
37.Atlas of beetles of Russia