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Genus Amara - Seed-Eating Ground Beetles

Common sun beetle - Amara aenea Shiny beetle - Amara Utah carabid - Amara Amara obesa Amara - Amara familiaris Scarab? - Amara Common Sun Beetle - Amara aenea - male Ground beetle from grassland pitfall trap - Amara
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)
Subfamily Harpalinae
Supertribe Pterostichitae
Tribe Zabrini (Seed-Eating Ground Beetles)
Genus Amara (Seed-Eating Ground Beetles)
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 note]
Explanation of Names
Amara Bonelli 1810
Greek a- (privative) + mairo 'to shine'(1)
105 spp. in 11 subgenera in our area, ~600 spp. in 47 subgenera worldwide(1)
5-11 mm(2), usually 6-9 mm
Medium-sized, usually oval beetles, many with coppery reflection, though some are black or brown(3). Typically encountered running about in the open. Most fully winged (macropterous)(4).
Species-level identification is difficult, even with technical keys.

A key to the subgenera of North American Amara appeared in American Beetles (2001:52,89-90). An early manuscript version of that key is presented here. It still needs editing to separate the eleven subgenera known in North America.

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
- 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

XXXIV. Key to the Nearctic Subgenera of Amara (After Lindroth, 1968, with modifications)
1. Front tibia with apical spur trifid. ZEZEA
- Front tibia with apical spur simple, not forked. 2

2(1). Prosternum with intercoxal process not margined at apex. CURTONOTUS
- Prosternum with intercoxal process margined at apex- 3

3(2). Prosternum with intercoxal process apically plurisetose. 4
- Prosternum with intercoxal process apically asetose, or bi- or quadri-setose . 5

4(3). Pronotum with posterolateral impression delimited laterally by a pronounced carina; geotraphical range transcontinental. PERCOSIA
- Pronotum with posterolateral carina suggested, only; geographical range, Texas only. NEOPERCOSIA

5(4). 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
- Pronotum basally broad, lateral margins slightly curved or straight anteriad posterolateral angles, but not sinuate; dorsal surface dark, dull, to metallic. 6

6(5). Elytron with stria 7 preapically with four to five punctures; geographical range, California. INSIGNIS SPECIES GROUP
- Elytron with stria 7 preapically without punctures, or with number of punctures less than four. AMARA (S. STR.), CELIA, and PARACELIA.
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)
Most feed on seeds; a few (e.g., A. obesa), on grasshopper eggs(5)(3)
Life Cycle
Some species overwinter as adults(5)
Works Cited
1.Catalogue of Geadephaga (Coleoptera, Adephaga) of America, north of Mexico
Bousquet Y. 2012. ZooKeys 245: 1–1722.
2.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
3.Ground Beetles and Wrinkled Bark Beetles of South Carolina
Janet Ciegler. 2000. Clemson University.
4.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.
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.