Beetles are a group of insects that includes ground beetles, stag beetles, dung beetles, rove beetles, chafers, ladybirds, leaf beetles and weevils.
Beetles can vary from very small to quite large insects. They can be identified by their hard forewings. These form a protective hard shell called a carapace, which meets neatly on the mid line of the body without overlapping. Most species are able to fly when required and are generally very mobile.
Beetles include families of predators that play a vital role in keeping down the numbers of other invertebrates. Other families are stored product pests or feed on wood or leaves and play an important role in decomposition.
Number of UK species: about 4,000
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