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Coleoptera

Coleoptera

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola.

Common name: Beetles.

Morphology: The Coleoptera is the largest order in the Insecta, with over 400,000 named species. They are distinguished by having their forewings modified to hardened, usually dark brown to black sheaths or elytra. The elytra protect the membranous hindwings, which are used for flight and are folded underneath when at rest. The mouthparts are adapted for biting and chewing and are similar in the larvae and adults, a trait that allows both to inhabit similar habitats. The larva (often termed grub), which may possess or lack legs, is always with a discrete head capsule.

Life history: Beetles occur in many diverse habitats and consume various diets. Those that live in the upper soil layers feed on decaying organic material, breaking down animal and plant debris. Others feed on fungi or pollen, on dung or on carrion and are thus of forensic interest. Many others, which consume plants, including dead or living wood, the roots of crops, or stored foods, include several pests. The predatory species have an important roles in the biological control of many pests. Some beetles occur in fresh water or on the seashore. The development of a generation of the various species may last from a few weeks to several years. The eggs (usually a few hundred/female) are usually deposited near or on the food source.

Important plant pest families

Bostrychidae (False powder-post beetle).

Bruchidae (Seed beetles).

Buprestidae

Cerambycidae (Long-horned beetles).

Chrysomelidae (Leaf beetles).

Curculionidae (inluding the Scolytinae)

Nitidulidae

Scarabaeidae

Stored product pest families

Dermestidae

Tenebrionidae.

Predatory beetle families

Coccinellidae

Cybocephalidae.

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