Byrrhidae

Byrrhidae

[′bir·ə‚dē]
(invertebrate zoology)
The pill beetles, the single family of the coleopteran insect superfamily Byrrhoidea.

Byrrhidae

 

(pill beetles), a family of beetles. The body, which is convex and oval, measures from 2 to 13 mm in length. When alarmed, the beetles draw in their head, press their short legs and club-shaped antennae closely against the underside of the body, and become immobile. A beetle in this position resembles a pill (hence the common name). The larvae have a large head, a narrow midsection, and three pairs of legs.

The beetles are distributed in temperate latitudes; rarely are they encountered in the tropics. Of the approximately 290 species of pill beetles, more than 60 are found in the USSR. The beetles and their larvae generally inhabit dry, sandy places and feed on moss and plant remains.