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Beetles

Colorado potato beetle, a leaf beetle. Leaf beetles feed on plants. Many, like the Colorado potato beetle, are serious pests of...Read More >>Colorado potato beetle, a leaf beetle. Leaf beetles feed on plants. Many, like the Colorado potato beetle, are serious pests of cultivated plants. Beetles are the largest order of insects, with at least 350,000 known species. All beetles have two pairs of wings, but only the back pair are used for flying. The front wings form a hard, protective case that folds over the flying wings, opening just before the beetle takes to the air. The beetle's exoskeleton is made up of a number of separate plates, called sclerites. Adults have a range of diets: some feed on plants, some scavenge and some are predators. Many beetles have methods of defence, such as squirting poisonous chemicals at their attackers, or startling them with loud noises.


Golden ground beetle. Most ground beetles are shiny black or metallic in colour and have ridged wing covers. The family contains...Read More >>Golden ground beetle. Most ground beetles are shiny black or metallic in colour and have ridged wing covers. The family contains around 40,000 species.
Mulberry longhorn beetle

Head

Like other insects, beetles have compound eyes, made up of thousands of tiny lenses. Their visual capability is not strong; they rely more on their antennae, which are chiefly organs of smell, but which can also be used to sense the beetle's immediate surroundings. Beetles communicate through emitting chemical substances called pheromones. The beetles' mouthparts include prominent mandibles: jaws that move from side to side to grasp their prey or cut up their food. Two, finger-like organs close to the mouth help move food into the mouth.
 

Dung beetles, types of scarab beetle, held a sacred status for the ancient Egyptians. The rolling of the dung ball was thought to resemble the movement of the Sun across the sky.

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