koleos = sheath; pteron = wing)
beetles, weevils, ladybirds
recognises beetles as beetles, probably because of their familiar armour-sheathed
bodies. Coleoptera literally means "sheath wings", referring to the hard
forewings which, unlike the wings of other insects, meet in a straight
line down the beetle's back as they cover the intricately folded hind
wings and usually encase much of the beetle's body. The Coleoptera includes
more described species than any other order of living things.
American beetles almost all fall into one of two major subgroups. One
group (suborder Adephaga) is made up of a few mostly predaceous families
in which the basal parts of the hind legs completely divide the underside
of the first abdominal segment, and the other group (suborder Polyphaga)
is made up of a great diversity of families in which the first abdominal
sternite is not divided.
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