Amara is pronounced with different vowel quantities (short or long a) and accents (in capital letters) depending on the authoritative source: ă-MĀ-ră (Classification of Insects by CT Brues, Dorland's Medical Dictionary, Cassell's Latin Dictionary); ĂM-ă-ră (The Century Dictionary); ă-MĂ-ră (spoken by some carabidologists).[PWM]
105 spp. in 11 subgenera in our area, ~600 spp. in 47 subgenera worldwide(1)
Medium-sized, usually oval beetles, many with coppery reflection, though some are black or brown(3)
. Most fully winged (macropterous
Species identification is difficult.
An early version of the key to subgenera of Nearctic Amara
is presented below.
XXXII. KEY TO THE NEARCTIC GENERA OF ZABRINI [PWM update 2021.VIII.07]
1. Labial palpomere 2 bisetose; maxillary palpomeres 3 and 4 with numerous long setae; head with frontal impressions transverse, shallow; elytron with plica small, not very evident. PSEUDAMARA - 1 sp.
Labial palpomere 2 plurisetose; maxillary palpomeres 3 and 4 glabreous, or palpomere 3 with few short setae near apex; head with frontal impressions more or less linear, moderately deep; elytron with plica moderately prominent. (Key XXXIV) AMARA - 105 spp.
XXXIV. Key to the Nearctic Subgenera of Amara (After Lindroth, 1968, with modifications)
1. Front tibia with apical spur trifid. ZEZEA - 9 spp.
Front tibia with apical spur simple, not forked. 2
2. Prosternum with intercoxal process not margined at apex. CURTONOTUS - 15 spp.
Prosternum with intercoxal process margined at apex- 3
3. Prosternum with intercoxal process apically plurisetose. 4
Prosternum with intercoxal process apically asetose, or bi- or quadri-setose . 5
4. Pronotum with posterolateral impression delimited laterally by a pronounced carina; geotraphical range transcontinental. PERCOSIA - 1 sp.
Pronotum with posterolateral carina suggested. Range: OK, TX. NEOPERCOSIA - 1 sp.
5. Pronotum basally more or less constricted, sinuate or not anteriad posterolateral angles, or very narrow, with dense and pronounced punctation over entire basal area; dorsal surface dark (rufopiceous to black ), dull or shiny, not metallic. BRADYTUS - fulva group - 10 spp.
Pronotum basally broad, lateral margins slightly curved or straight anteriad posterolateral angles, but not sinuate; dorsal surface dark, dull, to metallic. 6
6. Elytron with stria 7 preapically with four to five punctures; geographical range, California. BRADYTUS - insignus group - 2 spp.
Elytron with stria 7 preapically without punctures, or with number of punctures less than four. AMARA s. str. (aurata group - 1 sp, cupreolata group - 5 spp, impuncticollis group - 6 spp, incertae sedis - 17 spp), CELIA - 12 spp, PARACELIA - 1 sp, AMAROCELIA - 12 spp, XENOCELIA - 12 spp.
mostly Holarctic; across NA(4)
Commonly found on wet sand/mud or beneath logs or rocks in damp areas(3)
, though tend to favor dry open areas in these habitats(4)
. Typically encountered running about in the open.
Most feed on seeds; a few (e.g., A. obesa
), on grasshopper eggs(5)(3)
Some species overwinter as adults(5)