The many varieties of beetle make up 25 per cent of all insects. Also known by the Greek name Coleoptera, meaning sheathed wing, beetles are found in a wide range of habitats throughout the world. Beetles eat leaves, bark, dung and other insects. Some beetles, particularly boll weevils, cause widespread crop damage. Boll weevils alone cause millions of dollars in damage to U.S. cotton crops annually.
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Nearly 3,500 species in the beetle family are some sort of soldier beetle. Also known as cantharidae, they are called soldier beetles because of their hard outer wings and striped colours that resemble a soldier's uniform. The soldier beetle can be found in foliage and flowers. They feed on pollen, nectar or other insects. Some of these beetles also feed on plants.
Longhorn beetles, also known as cerambycidae, are named for their long antennae that may stretch out as long or longer than their bodies. With more than 20,000 species, longhorns are known as pests. Their larvae bore into wood, destroying trees. Asian longhorn beetles, a non-native species, have destroyed thousands of trees in the United States.
The grapevine beetle is also known as the spotted June beetle. These beetles, which live in the woods, are members of the scarab family. Fat and oval shaped, grapevine beetles eat grass roots or foliage. They are cousins of Japanese beetles.
Ladybirds are among the most numerous of the beetle species. Shiny red, black or orange, adult ladybirds eat plant-damaging aphids known as plant lice. The Asian ladybug was used for the control of plant lice to protect certain types of plants. Ladybirds live under leaves, bark or inside buildings. In the United Kingdom, these beetles are called ladybird beetles.
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