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A general and well-populated group, Darkling Beetles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and eat a myriad of things.
Darkling Beetles can be found under stones, inside hollowed logs, and roaming sandy dunes and deserts. Many are completely black, but some are auburn or brown. Some species eat fungi, others feed on living crops or decaying plant matter. Some are attracted to carrion, others dung. Many are overlooked and insignificant, but some are grain and produce pests.
The spectrum of behavior and life history among Darkling Beetles is vast. Larvae are yellow-tan worm-like grubs. The commercially available mealworm is the larva of one particular genus in the Darkling Beetle family. Many species have chemical defenses as adults, spraying or secreting noxious solutions from their bodies. Some beetles are long and slender. Others have tapered abdomen or are round, like lady beetles. While all have wings, species in arid regions do not fly because their wings are fused shut, allowing them to prevent moisture from evaporating. The diversity of this family makes them fascinating to study.
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 20mm (0.12in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.