Ground Beetles (Carabidae)

Ground beetles are among the biggest and most diverse families of beetles, with over 40,000 species globally. Over 2300 beetles live in North America, while 2700 live in Europe.

Common Beetles Belonging to this Family

Scientific Classification

These beetles are separated into several subfamilies, which consist of several genera.

  • Anthiinae
  • Apotominae
  • Brachininae
  • Broscinae
  • Carabinae
    • Altagonum
    • Aplothorax
    • Calosoma
    • Carabus
    • Cychrus
    • Homothes
    • Fortagonum
    • Laemostenus
    • Notagonum
  • Cicindelinae
  • Ctenodactylinae
  • Dryptinae
  • Elaphrinae
    • Blethisa
    • Diacheila
    • Elaphrus
  • Gineminae
  • Harpalinae
  • Hiletinae
  • Lebiinae
  • Licininae
  • Loricerinae
    • Loricera
  • Melaeninae
  • Migadopinae
  • Nebriinae
    • Leistus
    • Nebria
    • Notiophilus
    • Pelophila
    • Nippononebria
  • Nototylinae
  • Omophroninae
    • Omophron
  • Orthogoniinae
  • Panagaeinae
  • Paussinae
  • Platyninae
  • Promecognathinae
  • Protorabinae
  • Pseudomorphinae
  • Psydrinae
  • Pterostichinae
  • Rhysodinae
  • Scaritinae
    • Clivina
    • Dyschirius
    • Scarites
  • Siagoninae
  • Trechinae
  • Xenaroswellianinae

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 0.125-0.25 in (0.31-1.27 cm)

Color: Varied; most are black and dark brown, though other colors like bronze and green are seen. A metallic sheen is observed in the beetles of this family.

Other Characteristic Features: The beetles produce noxious or even acidic chemicals, which they spray at predators to deter them.

Larva

They are either black or brown, with elongated bodies and six legs on the thorax. Their bodies are segmented with pincers on their heads.

Pupa

Pupation generally occurs after three instars, with the beetles staying underground during this stage.

Egg

The eggs are white, small, and oval-shaped. Females lay 30-600 eggs on either the soil or the leaves of the host plant.

Quick Facts

Lifespan 2-3 years
Distribution Worldwide
Habitat Mostly in forests, but also deserts, mountains, and seashores
Predators Spiders, other ground beetles
Seasons active Spring to early summer
Host Plants Asparagus, rhubarb, and other flowering and herbaceous plants
Diet of adults Aphids, larvae of moths and beetles, mites, and springtails

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

These beetles do not cause any damage intentionally and only use their pincers and spray their chemicals in defense.

Did You Know

  • French zoologist Pierre André Latreille first described this family of beetles in 1802.

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    The Ohlone tiger beetle, endemic to California, is a member of the family of ground beetles. It was first discovered in 1987 and named in 1993 by Freitag & Kavanaugh.

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    The black clock beetle of the ground beetle family is indigenous to Europe, notably the United Kingdom. As evident from their name, they are majorly black, mainly thriving in woodlands, grasslands, and gardens during summer.

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