Temporal range: 318–0 Ma Late CarboniferousHolocene
Coleoptera collage.png
Clockwise from top left: female golden stag beetle (Lamprima aurata), rhinoceros beetle (Megasoma sp.), long nose weevil (Rhinotia hemistictus), cowboy beetle (Chondropyga dorsalis), and a species of Amblytelus.
Scientific classification e
Linnaeus, 1758

See subgroups of the order Coleoptera

Beetles are a group of insects that form the order Coleoptera, in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, elytra, distinguishing them from most other insects. The Coleoptera, with about 400,000 species, is the largest of all orders, constituting almost 40% of described insects and 25% of all known animal life-forms; new species are discovered frequently. The largest of all families, the Curculionidae (weevils) with some 83,000 member species,belongs to this order. Found in almost every habitat except the sea and the polar regions, they interact with their ecosystems in several ways: beetles often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Some species are serious agricultural pests, such as the Colorado potato beetle, while others such as Coccinellidae (ladybirds or ladybugs) eat aphids, scale insects, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops.

Beetles typically have a particularly hard exoskeleton including the elytra, though some such as the rove beetles have very short elytra while blister beetles have softer elytra. The general anatomy of a beetle is quite uniform and typical of insects, although there are several examples of novelty, such as adaptations in water beetles which trap air bubbles under the elytra for use while diving. Beetles are endopterygotes, which means that they undergo complete metamorphosis, with a series of conspicuous and relatively abrupt changes in body structure between hatching and becoming adult after a relatively immobile pupal stage. Some, such as stag beetles, have a marked sexual dimorphism, the males possessing enormously enlarged mandibles which they use to fight other males. Many beetles are aposematic, with bright colours and patterns warning of their toxicity, while others are harmless Batesian mimics of such insects. Many beetles, including those that live in sandy places, have effective camouflage.

Beetles are prominent in human culture, from the sacred scarabs of ancient Egypt to beetlewing art and use as pets or fighting insects for entertainment and gambling. Many beetle groups are brightly and attractively coloured making them objects of collection and decorative displays. Over 300 species are used as food, mostly as larvae; species widely consumed include mealworms and rhinoceros beetle larvae. However, the major impact of beetles on human life is as agricultural, forestry, and horticultural pests. Serious pests include the boll weevil of cotton, the Colorado potato beetle, the coconut hispine beetle, and the mountain pine beetle. Most beetles, however, do not cause economic damage and many, such as the lady beetles and dung beetles are beneficial by helping to control insect pests.


The name of the taxonomic order, Coleoptera, comes from the Greek koleopteros (κολεόπτερος), given to the group by Aristotle for their elytra, hardened shield-like forewings, from koleos, sheath, and pteron, wing. The English name beetle comes from the Old English word bitela, little biter, related to bītan (to bite),[2][3] leading to Middle English betylle.[4] Another Old English name for beetle is ċeafor, chafer, used in names such as cockchafer, from the Proto-Germanic *kebrô ("beetle"; compare German Käfer, Dutch kever).[5]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kewer
አማርኛ: በራብሪት
Ænglisc: Ceafer
العربية: خنافس
aragonés: Coleoptera
asturianu: Coleoptera
Atikamekw: Emikwanisis
Avañe'ẽ: Lembu
azərbaycanca: Sərtqanadlılar
Banjar: Karariang
Bân-lâm-gú: Ku-á (thâng)
башҡортса: Ҡаты ҡанатлылар
беларуская: Жукі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Цьвердакрылыя
Bikol Central: Amamanggi
български: Твърдокрили
brezhoneg: C'hwil
català: Coleòpters
Чӑвашла: Нăрă
Cebuano: Bakukang
čeština: Brouci
Cymraeg: Chwilen
dansk: Biller
Deutsch: Käfer
Diné bizaad: Chéłchaaʼ
Ελληνικά: Κολεόπτερα
español: Coleoptera
Esperanto: Koleopteroj
euskara: Kakalardo
français: Coleoptera
Gaeilge: Ciaróg
galego: Coleópteros
ГӀалгӀай: Чоапилгаш
한국어: 딱정벌레목
հայերեն: Բզեզներ
हिन्दी: वर्मपंखी
hrvatski: Kornjaši
Bahasa Indonesia: Kumbang
interlingua: Coleoptera
íslenska: Bjöllur
italiano: Coleoptera
עברית: חיפושיות
Jawa: Kumbang
ಕನ್ನಡ: ದುಂಬಿ
Kapampangan: Coleoptera
ქართული: ხოჭოები
Kiswahili: Mbawakawa
kurdî: Kêzik
Кыргызча: Коңуздар
Latina: Coleoptera
latviešu: Vaboles
Lëtzebuergesch: Kiewerleken
lietuvių: Vabalai
Lingua Franca Nova: Scarabe
magyar: Bogarak
македонски: Тврдокрилци
Malagasy: Borera
മലയാളം: വണ്ട്
Bahasa Melayu: Kumbang
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ချေဖါပိုး
Nāhuatl: Atepipitztli
Nederlands: Kevers
日本語: 甲虫類
Nordfriisk: Kraaben (insekten)
norsk: Biller
norsk nynorsk: Biller
occitan: Coleoptèr
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Qoʻngʻizlar
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਭੂੰਡ
Pälzisch: Käfer
پښتو: گونگټه
Plattdüütsch: Kävers
polski: Chrząszcze
português: Besouro
română: Coleopter
Runa Simi: Suntu
русский: Жесткокрылые
Seeltersk: Ruste
Simple English: Beetle
slovenčina: Chrobáky
slovenščina: Hrošči
کوردی: قالۆنچە
српски / srpski: Тврдокрилци
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Tvrdokrilci
Sunda: Kumbang
svenska: Skalbaggar
Tagalog: Uwang
தமிழ்: வண்டு
тоҷикӣ: Гамбускҳо
українська: Твердокрилі
اردو: بھونرا
Tiếng Việt: Bọ cánh cứng
West-Vlams: Keevrs
Winaray: Bagang
吴语: 鞘翅目
ייִדיש: זשוק
粵語: 甲蟲
žemaitėška: Vombuolė
中文: 鞘翅目