Explore the world of beetles
Beetles belong to the order Coleoptera, which comes from the Greek words koleos and pteron, meaning sheath and wing, respectively. Beetles have a pair of strong, armored wings that protect a second pair of hind wings, allowing them to fly.
The Coleoptera are the largest order in the animal kingdom, with more than 375,000 identified species. However, scientists believe that there are thousands more species yet to be discovered.
- Beetles live practically everywhere in the world, with the exception of the polar regions and the oceans (however, they are found in freshwater bodies).
- These insects play a vital role in the ecosystems they inhabit because they feed mainly on plant and animal remains. Similarly, ladybugs are a type of beetle that help control populations by feeding on pests that are harmful to crops such as aphids.
- Although some beetles help the ecosystem, others can be pests. For example, the boll weevil feeds on cotton buds and flowers, completely destroying crops.
- Dung beetles are very important in many ecosystems because they feed on animal droppings, thus recycling waste material.
- The titan beetle is the largest of the species, which can measure up to 18 cm. These have spines on their legs which they use to defend themselves, as well as jaws capable of tearing human skin and even breaking a pencil.
- Some beetles can emit light like the firefly. A chemical reaction in your body makes it possible for your abdomen to light up. The males emit light to attract the attention of the females and they respond in the same way.
- The life cycle of a beetle is known as a complete metamorphosis, which means that it develops through four different stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
- Beetle larvae (when they look like little worms) are eaten by many people around the world. They are an excellent source of protein, easy to reproduce and raise.