Beetles (Coleoptera)

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Rank & taxon

Order Coleoptera

Family

Order Coleoptera

Description

Adult: Beetles can range widely in size, from less than 1 mm to 200 mm in length. Beetles are characterized by hardened pair of forewings known as elytra that usually protect the second pair of membranous wings used for flight. Some beetles have lost the ability to fly and the elytra are fused. Beetles have a generally depressed body shape, with the legs situated on the ventral surface of the body. Beetles vary widely in color, and in each family, the form of specific organs and appendages differs within the general beetle body plan.

Larva: Larvae vary widely in appearance within the order, though they are generally similar within families. They may be differentiated from larvae of other insects by their hardened, often darkly colored head and the presence of chewing mouthparts.

Distribution

Worldwide, over 350,000 described species

Biology/life cycle

Worldwide, over 350,000 described species

Hosts

Palms: a wide variety of palms

Other: nearly every plant species

Representative taxa on palms

The coconut leaf beetle (Brontispa longissima) is one of the most damaging pests on coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), but may also infest over 20 other species of palm. It feeds on young leaves, causing damage to seedlings as well as mature palms. It is a serious pest in coconut palm growing regions throughout the Pacific.

The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, is a serious pest of Cocos nucifera (coconut palm) in Southeast Asia and Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) in the Middle East. Red palm weevil has recently been introduced to the Caribbean and has the potential to be a harmful pest in any area where palms are widely grown.

May be confused with

The coconut leaf beetle (Brontispa longissima) is one of the most damaging pests on coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), but may also infest over 20 other species of palm. It feeds on young leaves, causing damage to seedlings as well as mature palms. It is a serious pest in coconut palm growing regions throughout the Pacific.

The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, is a serious pest of Cocos nucifera (coconut palm) in Southeast Asia and Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) in the Middle East. Red palm weevil has recently been introduced to the Caribbean and has the potential to be a harmful pest in any area where palms are widely grown.

Additional comments

Beetles represent 25% of all known plant and animal species and are by far the largest contributor to the planet's macroscopic biodiversity.

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