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. Classification in the Guide is adapted from(1)
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
Taxa not yet in the guide: native (*), non-native (+); most names are linked to images available on other sites.
Tribe Cicindelini Apterodela
Tribe Bembidiini Amerizus
Tribe Pterostichini Abaris
Subtribe Harpalina Stenomorphus
Tribe Platynini Calathus
Here are three essential structures that distinguish Carabidae from other beetle families:
1. The first visible ventrite (abdominal segment) is not continuous; instead it is divided by fixed hind coxae;
2. Front tibia has a prominent notch (antenna cleaner) on the inside near distal end;
3. Hind trochanter is elongate (at least 1/3 femur).
North American tribes and genera in(3)
Canada & Alaska in(4)
(profusely illustrated, covers most species across n. US)
Northeastern North America(5)
South Carolina in(6)
(useful for much of the se. US)
Pacific Northwest in(7)
(outdated; fine habitus drawings)
Northern North America(8)
, New World(9)
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
Determination of sex:
Compared to the unmodified legs in female carabids, the male front legs frequently have 'hairy' pads beneath the rather dilated tarsal segements. This easy form of external sexual dimorphism occurs in many carabid genera. When the latter trait does not occur, one must look for other external separators of sex. The literature provides additional clues. Sex determination in the carabid genus Scarites
serves as a model for investigating genera without obvious sexual dimorphism.
Adventive elements of Canadian fauna reviewed in(13)
State/provincial records additional to those reflected in(1)
are listed in a BugGuide Forum(14)
. Please use that forum thread to submit new records and newly published taxonomic changes that affect the North American 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.
Other beetles superficially resembling carabids:
|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.
|7.||The Beetles of the Pacific Northwest|
Hatch, M. 1953. University of Washington publications in biology, Volume 16. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
|13.||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.