Beetles - Order
- This page contains pictures and information about Beetles that we found in
the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
- Largest Beetle we found - in Oxenford, on the way to
Tamborine National Park.
- Beetles, order Coleoptera, is the
largest and most diverse order of insects. Their size is ranges from 0.5mm to
200mm. J.B.S. Haldane's famous comment on beetles has been quoted many times.
During a lecture on the biological aspects of space flight given in 1951.
Haldane remarked that "the Creator, if He exists, has a special preference
for beetles, and so we might be more likely to meet them than any other type of
animal on a planet that would support life".
- A large Beetle in Mt Coot-tha.
- We have the discussions on why
insects, especially beetles, are so success below.
- Coleoptera means
Cowboy Beetle - common in Brisbane summer.
- All beetles have hard forewings, called elytra, which
do not do much help in flying but cover the membranous hind wings and protect
the abdomen. Some beetles do not fly but some others fly very fast. When
flying the hind wings extended to the fright position. The forewings, or elytra,
are lift up vertically or in side way, which is believed will have some aerodynamic effect on the fright. When at rest, the elytra meet edge to edge in
a straight line at the centre over the abdomen. The hind wings are neatly folded
under the elytra.
- The beetles are usually
bright in colour. They are complete
metamorphosis. The adults are usually feed
on nectar and pollen. Some are feed on plants leave. Larva may be found
underground or under the bark of living trees.
- There are more than a
hundred families of beetles in Australia. We listed here with the most
common species and those easily found in Brisbane. We will gradually increase the
species and families in the list, with more pictures and information. Please come back
and check our web site from time to time.
CARABIDAE - Ground Beetles
- Beetles in this family usually have a flat body. They have long legs and
running fast. Most of them are predators with prominent mandibles and palps,
They hunt for small insects either on ground or on tree trunks. Some of them
- Family Staphylinidae - Rove Beetles
- Staphylinidae is a large family although we seldom see them. They are from
very small to small size. They are either predators or carrion feeder live in
soil and leaf litter. Usually they are elongate and half of their abdomen is
exposed. The larvae are active with fully developed legs.
LUCANIDAE - Stag Beetle
- The male in this family is
usually larger than the female. Male and female look quite different. Male
often has the mandibles greatly enlarged and prolonged forwards, i.e., their
common name Stag Beetle. Some adult beetles do not feed while some feed on
- Family SCARABAEIDEA - Scarab Beetles
- The beetles in this family are usually medium to large size, occasionally
with bright colour. They have distinctive lamellate antennae which can
open like a small fan or close tightly. Adults beetles usually feed on
leaves and flowers.
- Family BUPRESTIDAE - Jewel Beetles
- Jewel Beetles can normally be seen feeding nectar on flowers in bush during
a sunny day. Some Jewel Beetles are leaves feeder. Their body is elongated and
flattened. They are brightly coloured and often have a metallic sheen which
make their common name Jewel Beetles.
- Family Eucnemidae - False Click Beetles
- Beetles in this family look like the Click Beetle but may or may not have
the click mechanism. Their body is elongated and slightly flattened, from
small to medium size. The eyes are usually large with the antennae are
inserted some distance from the eyes.
- Family Elateridae - Click Beetles
- Beetles in this family are elongated form, with acute hind angles on
prothorax and a clicking mechanism enabling them to jump by sudden movement of
prothorax and hind body.
- FAMILY LYCIDAE - Lycid Beetles
- Lycid Beetles are elongated beetles and may be found on flowers or on plant
surfaces. Some species adults are nectar-feeders, some are not feed at all.
Their head is usually triangular in shape. Antennae are medium long and thick.
Larvae can be found under bark or in leaf litter.
- Family CANTHARIDAE - Soldier Beetles
- Beetles in this family are usually small in size, brown and yellow in
colour. Adults bodies are soft, flat and long. Their antenna are filiform. They
are abundant on flowers and foliage where they feed on nectar, pollen, or other
insects. Larvae of most species are carnivorous, a few species feed on plants.
- Family Anobiidae - Furniture Beetles
- Beetles in this family are usually small in size. Some resemble
spiders. Larvae are wood borer. They bore into wood or bark of dead trees. Some are
considered as pest of furniture and timber industry.
- Family Cleridae - Clerid Beetles
- The beetle has large eyes and bright yellow antenna. Its large and strong
mandible suggested it is a predator. Its wing covers are black in colour with
pink at the back, separated by a white line across.
- Family Melyridae - Pollen Beetles
- The beetles are partly predacious. They search over plants during the
day. They eat eggs, larvae and other slow-moving insects. On rice crops, they
have been found feeding on pollen. The egg, larval and pupa stages are in the
- Family Nitidulidae - Sap Beetles
- We sometimes found this black little beetle in Hibiscus flowers in our
- Family Languriidae - Lizard Beetles
- Beetles in this family are usually narrowly elongated, slightly flattened,
metallic, black and reddish brown in colours. Their head is relatively
large. Larvae are not known but believed are stem-borers.
- Family COCCINELLIDAE - Ladybirds
They are also known as Ladybugs or Lady Beetles. Adults are oval in shape,
from 1 mm to10 mm. Like all beetles, their hard forewings cover the membranous hind wings and protect
the abdomen. Legs and clubbed antenna are short, which can be hidden beneath their bodies.
- Family Mordellidae - Pintail Beetles
- We found only one species in this family.
- Family Rhipiphoridae - Wedge-shaped Beetles
- Most beetles in this family have body in wedge shape but do not have prolonged abdominal apex as as Mordellidae. Their larvae are parasitic on other insects, including cockroaches, wood-boring beetles and
- Family TENEBRIONIDAE
- Beetles in this family are usually black or brown in colour, highly variable
in shape. Their antenna are medium length. They feed on variety of dead
materials of plants and fungal.
- Family Oedemeridae - Pollen-feeding Beetles
- Adults Oedemerids feed on pollen and can be found on flowers and leaves.
They have elongated and parallel-sided slender body and usually with mouth parts
expanded. The antennae are long and in filiform. They are from small to
Meloidae - Blister Beetles
- Beetles in this small family are usually bicoloured with bright colours.
Their head is strongly constricted behind eyes to form narrow neck. The
thorax is usually narrow as well. They have long snout for flower-visiting,
typical of pollen feeders. Their eggs are lay on flowers and larvae are
parasitoids of bees.
- Family CERAMBYCIDAE - Longicorn Beetles
All members in this family commonly call Longicorn Beetle. They have very long
antennae, more than two-thirds, some are even three times as their body
length. Their antenna can directed backwards over their body. Their compound eyes are notched at the base of the antennae.
- Family CHRYSOMELIDAE - Leaf Beetles
Most species of this family feed
on leaves. Leaf beetles adults range from 5 to 15 mm in
length and are brightly coloured. They have different body shapes from flattened to globular.
Their antenna usually less than half the length of
- Family BELIDAE - Belid Weevils
- This is a small family very close related with the true weevil. Their antenna is straight, not elbowed and not
clubbed. Their body is elongated and in cylindrical form. Likes the true
weevils, their rostrum is usually very long. Adults and larvae are feed on
plants. Their larvae are known to bore into stems and branches.
- Family CURCULIONIDAE - True Weevils
Weevil adults characterized
by the elongation of the front part of their head and mouths. Their
antennae usually elbowed and clubbed. They
usually have rigid bodies less than 10mm, although the largest can
be up to 60mm. All of them are plant feeders.
- Other Families - There are some more beetle in
this page, some of them we need your help to identify.
Why beetles are so success?
Beetles may be success in number of species, but not quite when counting the
number of individual. When we go out to the field, usually you will see a lot
of ants, moths, flies, and grasshoppers. If you visit some special place,
such as pond, rivers, flower plants, forest, etc, you may easily found the
dragonflies, butterflies etc. But to find a beetle may not so easily. Instead
of saying beetle is a success family, I will say they have the most number of
species in their order. So the correction question should be: Why there are
so many species of beetles?
I think of the following reasons;
- 1. The ways that we classified all different species of beetles as one
order may be not fair. When comparing beetles with other orders of insects, I
think we put two many different families into one Coleoptera Order. We put
every insects with hard forewings into Coleoptera Order. If we put
grasshoppers, stick insects, mantids and cockroaches in different orders, why
do we put ladybird beetles, scarab, longicorn, weevil in one order?
2. Beetles evolved in flowering season. By the help of insects, plants
invented their important organ - flower. The insects not only consume
the plants but co-evolutes with them and help plants to develop. When
flowers first appeared on earth, it was also beetles first appear on earth.
Beetles were not necessary depend on flowers for food, however, flowers
provides food for beetles and let them to help for pollination. Flowers and
beetles both benefited form each other. Beetle species become the largest
number order in Insects.
- 3. Beetle specialized in food and live in isolated environment. After
long time of separations, different group of beetles become different
4. Beetles are among the first group of insect who gain the benefit of
complete metamorphosis, i.e., they develop from eggs, larva, pupa to adult.
They have two completely different body shape and there are a lot of
advantages. Those include adults and larvae not necessary to complete
for the same food and living resources, adapt to different conditions due
to seasonal changes, and to avoid predators in different stage.
We would like to thank Justin Bartlett in Brisbane for he constantly sends us
email and helps us identify some of the beetle species in this web site.
- 1. A
Bit About Beetles In Brisbane - Geoff Monteith, Save Our
Waterways Now, 2006.
- 2. Insects
of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University
Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p 543.
- 3. A guide to the Genera of Beetles of South Australia
Matthews, E.G. 1987-2002.
- 4. A Guide to the Beetles of Australia - George Hangay and Paul Zborowski, CSIRO PUBLISHING April 2010.
Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.