Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla crinata
Southern Masked Chafer, Cyclocephala immaculata
Photo courtesy Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida
Copyright (c) 2008 Pete Williams
May 23, 2008
If every plant and animal species sent a representative to a convention, one out of every five delegates would be a beetle. Beetles have chewing mouthparts. Their forewings are hard structures that protect the abdomen and the hindwings are folded under when the beetles are at rest. Beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis from egg to larva to pupa to adult.
The largest group of beetles are Advanced Beetles, so called because they are more highly developed. There are some 17,000 species in North America alone. Feeding habits vary widely, although most consume plant material. Few species are entirely harmful or beneficial throughout their life cycle. One exception is the Japanese Beetle, which feeds on plant roots as a larva and on flowers, fruits, and foliage as an adult. In contrast, the insect-eating ladybird beetles are beneficial in both stages.