Crowson, Roy A. Department of Zoology, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:May 2021
- General biological features
- Wings and flight
- Defense adaptations
- Mating and life cycle
- Adult anatomy
- Internal anatomy
- Sense organs
- Food specialization
- Water beetles
- Special habitats and adaptations
- Marginal habitats
- Dung and carrion beetles
- Wood borers
- Phylogenetic history
- Geographical distribution
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An order of Insecta comprising the beetles. Beetles belong to the insect order Coleoptera. This is the largest animal order, containing approximately 400,000 species. With so many species, beetles show very great diversity in size, form, color, habits, and physiology (Fig. 1). Beetles have been found almost everywhere on Earth (except for the Antarctic mainland) where any insects are known, and species of the order exploit almost every habitat and type of food that is used by insects. Many species are economically important. Modern classification systems divide the Coleoptera into four extant suborders: Adephaga, Archostemata, Myxophaga, and Polyphaga. Classification designations are based on a great variety of characteristics, including internal ones and those of immature stages, as well as taking fossil evidence into account. See also: Biodiversity; Economic entomology; Insect physiology; Insecta
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