• Question: how many beetles are there and what type of beetles are there

    Asked by fp on 1 Dec 2023.
    • Photo: Octavia Brayley

      Octavia Brayley answered on 1 Dec 2023:

      Awesome question! Of the 1-2 million eukaryote species (ones that are multicellular like animals and plants) that have been described, almost half are insects — and of those insects, more than one third are beetles. There are around 400,000 species of beetles across the world! And they come in many different shapes and sizes. For example, there’s the titan beetle (Titanus giganteus). This massive beetle can grow up to 6.6 inches long, making it the largest beetle in the world in terms of sheer body size. There’s also the blister beetle which is one of the most poisonous insects. The jewel beetles are absolutely beautiful and are incredibly brightly-coloured. The so-called bombardier beetles of the Carabidae family have the property of secreting a foul-smelling defensive fluid from the anal end of the body. In some cases this fluid volatilizes explosively into a gas at high temperature when it comes into contact with the air; it acts as a repellent to other insects or enemies. Many beetles produce sound, usually by rubbing one part of the body (a scraper) against another part (the file). These stridulating organs are generally present in both sexes and probably serve to attract a mate. Some beetles emit a bright light, that is produced during a reaction involving a compound (luciferin) and an enzymelike substance (luciferase) in the outer layer of the luminous organ. Luminous beetles include the Lampyridae (fireflies). There are so many amazing beetles around the world with incredible adaptations and behaviours!

      Here are a few videos to watch on some amazing beetles:

    • Photo: Ian McKinley

      Ian McKinley answered on 2 Dec 2023:

      I like the quote from JSB Haldane’s 1949 book What is Life? The Layman’s View of Nature, p. 248:
      The Creator would appear as endowed with a passion for stars, on the one hand, and for beetles on the other, for the simple reason that there are nearly 300,000 species of beetle known, and perhaps more, as compared with somewhat less than 9,000 species of birds and a little over 10,000 species of mammals. Beetles are actually more numerous than the species of any other insect order. That kind of thing is characteristic of nature.
      As Octavia noted, a lot more beetle species have been found since then.

    • Photo: Jonathan Allen

      Jonathan Allen answered on 4 Dec 2023:

      Great answers already – nothing I can add to them!