What Do Beetles Eat? Beetles are a group of insects which are under the Order Coleoptera. Coming from the Greek words “koleos” meaning “sheath” and “pteron” meaning “wing“, the order is characterized by members having “sheath wings” that appear as hard protective shell that cover the inner membranous wings.
Regarding their diet, beetles eat a wide variety of things found in nature. They feed on things like decaying matter, plants, other insects, and even animals. Of course, such is dependent on the species of the beetle itself and the type of environment it lives in.
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Table of Contents
What Do Beetles Eat?
1. Decaying Matter
In general, many beetle species consume decaying organic matters for survival. Examples of these things are decaying plant leaves, and wood, animal dung, and even dead animal remain and debris. Mildew beetles feed on fungus.
- Species of the Carrion beetles, Clown beetles, and the Scarab beetles are known to have this kind of diet.
There are also other beetle species that feed on vegetation and as such are considered to be pests. These insects like to consume the leaves and make holes to them, resulting in their discoloration and eventually death. Examples of these beetles are the Cottonwood Leaf beetles and the Elm Leaf beetles.
- Other species of beetles residing in aquatic environments also feed on algae, and other decaying matter found underwater.
- Aside from the leaves, there are also species of beetles that are capable of destroying and digesting the wood of trees. And like the beetles that feed on leaves, these beetles are also considered as pests because they bore through the stem and roots of woody plants, which eventually may result in the plant’s death.
- Other beetles like the rice weevils and primitive weevils feed on other plant parts like rice and other grains, and pollen grains of plants (respectively).
3. Household Materials
Powder post beetles and Longhorned beetles feed on wood materials found in home structures such as beams, wooden artifacts, & furnitures and could cause some severe damage to homes.
Aside from being vegetarian, some beetles also practice carnivory and feed on beetles and other insects. One famous example is the Lady beetles which feed on caterpillars, scale insects, aphids, mites, and almost all kind of insect pests that farmers and gardeners hate. Both the larvae and adult form of the Lady beetles feed on these pests.
5. Other Animals
Interestingly, a species of water beetles known as the Predaceous diving beetle Dysticus sp. Is living up to its name because it acts as a predator to other water bugs, amphibians, and some snakes!.
- Water beetles eat tadpoles.
- Another awesome example is the adult whirligig beetles and their larvae. These beetles are known to be carnivorous and feed on aquatic insects and crustaceans.
Coleoptera is the largest order of the class of insects. In fact, scientists believe that more species of insects under this order are yet to be identified and be added to the 400,000 known species.
Who knows they might discover beetle species that eat more bizarre things than those already mentioned?
- “ENT 425 | General Entomology | Resource Library | Compendium [coleoptera]”. Accessed November 22, 2017. Link.
- “Aquatic Beetle – Animal Facts”. Accessed November 22, 2017. Link.
- “Top 10 Beneficial Garden Insects”. Accessed November 22, 2017. Link.
- “Beetle larvae eating tadpole”. Accessed November 22, 2017. Link.