Order Coleoptera


Nearly all beetles have four wings, the upper pair being hard and shell-like. Metamorphosis is complete, the life stages being the egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Both the larvae and adults have chewing mouthparts. The larvae of beetles are often called grubs. Beetles are found almost everywhere. For example, whirligig beetles and diving beetles live in water, whereas cucumber beetles, the Mexican bean beetle and alfalfa weevil feed on vegetation. The plum curculio attacks fruits; the granary weevil feeds in stored grains; and stag beetles live in stumps and decaying logs. Others, such as scavenger beetles, live on dead animals. Some Coleoptera, like lady beetles and ground beetles, are beneficial because they feed on injurious insects. The stylopids are very unusual beetles that are parasitic on other insects such as wasps. They have been considered by some entomologists as a separate order called Strepsiptera.

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Family Buprestidae

Flatheaded or Metallic wood borers (also known as jewel beetles).

These are shiny, flat beetles. They usually attack trees that are weakened. The larvae are in the wood, adults prefer sunny sides of trees.

Family Lucanidae

Stag Beetles

These make up a small family of large, stout-bodied beetles. They have large jaws (especially males). A great one to collect is the giant stag beetle (Lucanus elaphus) which is found in southeastern Kansas.

Family Cerambycidae

Longhorned beetles

This is a large family of small to large-sized beetles. The antennae are usually longer than the body.

Common species in Kansas include the locust borer (Megacyllene robiniae) and the flowerloving longhorn (Typocerus sinuatus).

These images are from the display cases in Waters Hall, and include many tropical species.

For additional information on beetles, be sure to check out the following websites: