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(Carabidae), a family of beetles. Ground beetles vary in size (2–8 cm). Many have anal glands that secrete a caustic fluid. The elytra usually cover the entire abdomen; sometimes they grow together, in which case the wings are absent or underdeveloped. The larvae are elongated, mobile, and often black and shiny; most are predaceous and some are herbivorous. Pupation takes place in soil.
Ground beetles eat mostly mollusks, insect larvae, and sometimes earthworms. Some species are herbivorous and are capable of injuring grains (grain and millet beetles and other species of the genera Zabrus, Amara, and Harpalus). They are usually active at night, hiding during the day under stones or fallen leaves. There are approximately 20,000 species, widely distributed all over the world but mainly in the temperate zone and most of all in Europe and Asia. There are more than 2,300 species in the USSR. Some species of the genera Carabus and Calosoma, particularly the European ground beetle, are very useful in forestry and orchard growing because they destroy gypsy moth caterpillars, cutworms, and slugs.
REFERENCESKryzhanovskii, O. L. Zhuki-zhuzhelitsy roda Carabus Srednei Azii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
M. E. TER-MINASIAN