There are about 400,000 species of beetles in the world. Some are brightly colored but many of them are shades of brown. They belong to the order coleoptera, which means "sheath wing." These beetles undergo complete metamorphosis. They begin as eggs, hatch into larvae, often called grubs, pupate and then become adults.
This family contains the stag beetles. The American Stag beetle is brown and shiny with nearly black legs and antennae. It's notable for its very long mandibles, which can be as long is ts body. The females' mandibles are shorter. Perhaps because of this the male is from 1.8 to 2.4 inches long and the female is 1.18 to 1.4 inches long. Stag beetles are found in decaying oak stumps and sometimes are attracted to lights at night. The males of lucanidae always have quite large mandibles. Stag beetles can be found in the northeastern United States.
Scaradbidae is a large family of beetles, many of whom are brown. Rathvon's scarab is an .43 to .63 inch long beetle with a black head and brown wing covers. The rest of the body is furry and it has antennae with flared tips like a weevil's. It's found in the Pacific Northwest. The unlined giant chafer grows from .9 to .98 inches long and its brown body looks somewhat iridescent. It lives in the oak and pine canyons of the southwestern United States. The brown chafer is .28 to .335 inches long and is found on flowers during the day. It hides under boards or debris at night. It can be found in the Pacific northwest. The spotted June beetle has a yellow brown body with a few black spots. It eats grape leaves and can be found in the eastern United States. It's .8 to .98 inches long and is also attracted to porch lights. They are harmless beetles and some people keep them as pets.
Elateridae are also known as click beetles. They get their name because if they're placed on their back they flex their bodies and can catapult themselves several inches into the air to right themselves. They're also called snap beetles. The lantern click beetle is .8 to .9 inches long and is active at night. To that end they have a light organ in their abdomen that casts light on the ground as they walk. The light is so strong that a jar of click beetles can provide enough light to read by in a dark room. The larvae are also luminescent and are considered helpful because they eat other grubs. The lantern click beetle lives in the southern United States and Mexico.
The family Lampyridae includes the fireflies. The common eastern firefly is brown with red stripes and a red patch behind its head. The male's light organ is larger than the female's. The adults and larvae are both predators and are found throughout eastern North America. The firefly's light is the result of enzymes interacting. The light produced is cold, which means it produces light but not heat. Fireflies are about .4 to .6 inches long.
- "Simon and Schusters Guide to Insects"; Dr. Ross H. Arnett Jr., et al.;1987
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