(Greek, koleos = sheath; pteron = wing)
Common Names: beetles, weevils, ladybirds
Distribution: Cosmopolitan
Suborders: Adephaga, Polyphaga

Everyone 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.

North 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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