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

beetle - Dyschirius Carabid - Notiobia purpurascens Poecilus lucublandus Discoderus robustus - male ground beetle larvae - Calosoma Carabus goryi? - Carabus goryi Arizona Beetle for ID - Platynus brunneomarginatus Elaphropus anceps
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Adephaga
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 is adapted from(1)
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 and 110 tribes worldwide and ~2,440 spp. (incl. 64 adventive spp.) in almost 200 genera (50 tribes, 15 subfamilies) in our area(1)
Overview of our fauna: TO BE UPDATED per(1)(2)
Family Carabidae
Taxa not yet in the guide: native (*), non-native (٭‎)
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
North American genera (3)
Canada & Alaska in (4) (profusely illustrated, covers most species across n. US)
Northeastern North America(5)
SC(6) (useful for much of the se. US)
PNW(7) (outdated; fine habitus drawings)
Online galleries: New World(8) • World(9) • Europe(10) gives a good idea of Holarctic carabid diversity at a glance.
Larvae: Carabidae vs Staphylinidae: "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)
Sexing: Male protatrsi usually dilated and have hairy pads beneath. If not, look for other clues. Scarites is an example of genera without obvious sexual dimorphism.
Adventive elements of Canadian fauna reviewed in (11).
State/provincial records not covered by (1) are listed in a Forum thread(12); please submit there new records and taxonomic changes that affect our fauna.
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
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.Phylogeny of the beetle supertribe Trechitae (Coleoptera: Carabidae): Unexpected clades, isolated lineages, and [...]
D.R. Maddison, K. Kanda, O.F. Boyd, A. Faille, N. Porch, T.L. Erwin, and S. Roig-Junent. 2019. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
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 Beetles of the Pacific Northwest
Hatch, M. 1953. University of Washington publications in biology, Volume 16. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
8.Carabidae of the World
9.eAgra: Western Hemisphere Caraboidea
10.Benisch C. (2007-) – Beetle fauna of Germany
11.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.
12.New Records & Taxonomy Registry for the Nearctic Ground Beetles (Geadephaga)