Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

garden crops (see Chafer). Many of these insects, such as the species of Phanaeus (fig. 29) and Cetonia (fig. 30), are adorned with metallic or other brilliant colours. The African “goliath-beetles” (fig. 31) and the American “elephant-beetles” (Dynastes) are the largest of all insects.

EB1911 Coleoptera - Fig. 31.—Goliathus giganteus.jpg
Fig. 31.Goliathus giganteus (Goliath Beetle).

Anchistopoda.—The families of beetles included by Kolbe in this group are distinguished by the possession of six malpighian tubes, and a great reduction in one or two of the tarsal segments, so that there seem to be only four or three segments in each foot; hence the names Tetramera and Trimera formerly applied to them. The larvae have soft-skinned bodies sometimes protected by rows of spiny tubercles, the legs being fairly developed in some families and greatly reduced or absent in others. As might be expected, degeneration in larval structure is correlated with a concealed habit of life.

The Coccinellidae, or ladybirds (fig. 32), are a large family of beetles, well known by their rounded convex bodies, usually shining and hairless. They have eleven segments to the feeler, which is clubbed at the tip, and apparently three segments only in each foot. Ladybirds are often brightly marked with spots and dashes, their coloration being commonly regarded as an advertisement of inedibility. The larvae have a somewhat swollen abdomen, which is protected by bristle-bearing tubercles. Like the perfect insects, they are predaceous, feeding on plant-lice (Aphidae) and scale insects (Coccidae). Their role in nature is therefore beneficial to the cultivator. The Endomychidae (fig. 33), an allied family, are mostly fungus-eaters. In the Erotylidae and a few other small related families the feet are evidently four-segmented.

EB1911 Coleoptera - Fig. 32.—Anatio ocellata, Fig. 33.—Endomychus coccineus.jpg
Fig. 32.Anatio ocellata
(Eyed Ladybird). Europe.
Fig. 33.Endomychus coccineus.
EB1911 Coleoptera - Fig. 34.—Sagra cyanea, Fig. 35.—Eumorphus ivguttatus.jpg
Fig. 34.Sagra cyanea.
W. Africa.
Fig. 35.Eumorphus ivguttatus.
EB1911 Coleoptera - Fig. 36.—Lophonocerus barbicornis.jpg
Fig. 36.Lophonocerus barbicornis. S. America.

The Chrysomelidae, or leaf-beetles (figs. 34, 35), are a very large family, with “tetramerous” tarsi; there seem to be only four segments to the foot, but there are really five, the fourth being greatly reduced. The mandibles are strong, adapted for biting the vegetable substances on which these beetles feed, and the palps of the second maxillae have three segments. Most of the Chrysomelidae are metallic in colour and convex in form; in some the head is concealed beneath the prothorax, and the so-called “tortoise” beetles (Cassidinae) have the elytra raised into a prominent median ridge. The most active form of larva found in this family resembles in shape that of a ladybird, tapering towards the tail end, and having the trunk segments protected by small firm sclerites. Such larvae, and also many with soft cuticle and swollen abdomen—those of the notorious “Colorado beetle,” for example—feed openly on foliage. Others, with soft, white, cylindrical bodies, which recall the caterpillars of moths, burrow in the leaves or stems of plants. The larvae of the tortoise-beetles have the curious habit of forming an umbrella-like shield out of their own excrement, held in position by the upturned tail-process. The larvae of the beautiful, elongate, metallic Donaciae live in the roots and stems of aquatic plants, obtaining thence both food and air. The larva pierces the vessels of the plant with sharp processes at the hinder end of its body. In this way it is believed that the sub-aqueous cocoon in which the pupal stage is passed becomes filled with air.

The Cerambycidae, or longhorn beetles, are recognizable by their slender, elongate feelers, which are never clubbed and rarely serrate. The foot has apparently four segments, as in the Chrysomelidae. The beetles are usually elongate and elegant in form, often adorned with bright bands of colour, and some of the tropical species attain a very large size (figs. 36, 37). The feelers are usually longer in the male than in the female, exceeding in some cases by many times the