Coleoptera, an order commonly called Beetles, is an order of insects; from Greek, "sheath"; and "wing", thus "sheathed wing", which contains more species than any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species), and new species are discovered frequently. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but 1 million is a more likely figure. The largest taxonomic family, the Curculionidae (the weevils or snout beetles), also belongs to this order .
The diversity of beetles is very wide-ranging. They are found in almost all habitats, but are not known to occur in the sea or in the polar regions. They interact with their ecosystems in several ways. They often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates.
Small,domed and usually hemispherical although some species are oblong. Head sunk into pronotum. Legs short and retractable. Usually brightly coloured and distastfull but colour attern is notoriously variable.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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