Beetles

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Beetles

Rhinoceros beetle

Rhinoceros beetle

Beetles
The ‘Coleoptera’ order of insects are most commonly known as Beetles. The name coleoptera is from the Greek words ‘koleos’ meaning to sheath and ‘pteron’ meaning wing, hence sheathed wing as most beetles have two pairs of wings which are folded under a protective shield made from ‘chitin’ when not in flight. Chitin is a fibrous substance consisting of polysaccharides, which is the major constituent in the exoskeleton of arthropods like beetles, butterflies, spiders and other arthropods. It is also used to make the cell walls of fungi.

Beetles are the most common kind of insects and are found everywhere on the planet from food stores to deserts sands. So how can you tell a beetle from other insects? First look to see if the insect has wings, if you can see the wings it won’t be a beetle as beetles have wing covers which hide them. As mentioned above beetles have a hard wing casing covering their fragile wings. The only time you will see their wings is when they are just about to take to the air in flight, or before they tuck them away when they have just landed. Another way to tell is by flipping the creature on its back and examining its mouth parts under a magnifying glass. Beetles feed by chewing their food so they have chewing mouthparts, but some insects which look like beetles feed by sucking the juices from their prey, these insects have piercing mouthparts which protrude from the mouth so they can skewer their prey and suck out their insides.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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