Beetles and bugs
Lots of beetles
Beetles are the biggest group of insects in Britain, with more than 4,000 species. So that are beetles easier to classify, they are divided into several different families, such as longhorn beetles, click beetles, ground beetles, leaf beetles and dung beetles.
Beetles are easy to recognise with their hard front wing cases, known as elytra, which usually cover their whole body, giving the insects their characteristic armoured look.
Their hind wings are membranous and are folded beneath the elytra when they don't need them. Most beetles can fly, but spend relatively little time in the air. They much prefer to live on the ground, under logs and in leaf litter and vegetation.
Like many insects, beetles have a larval and chrysalis stage, with some larvae living as wood-borers for up to 4 years. This diverse group of insects includes some species which are severe pests and can decimate crops and tree species like the elm.
Others like the ladybird are loved by keen gardeners, as they are voracious predators of aphids which can blight various plants, especially roses.
At Risley Moss, lots of water beetles or their ferocious-looking larvae can be located in our ponds, where they're specially adapted to live underwater. The largest is the great diving beetle, which is a 3.5cm long beetle and can live for up to two years.
Beetles and bugs
Bugs are similar to beetles, but they're a completely different type of insect. The main difference is that beetles have chewing mouthparts, where bugs have a piercing beak called a rostrum which acts like a hypodermic needle which they use to suck juices from plants or animals.
Did you know?
- Beetles have chewing mouthparts, bugs have beaks
- There are over 4000 species of beetle in the UK
- Ladybirds are often considered the 'gardeners friend'