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a group of beetles of several subfamilies of the family Scaribeidae, including Melolonthidae, Rhizotroginae, and Pachydeminae. The body length ranges from 4 to 60 mm. The coloring is black, brown, or yellow, occasionally with a metallic sheen. The body is usually covered with white, yellow, or brown hairs or scales, which often hide the basic color and frequently form designs. The end of the abdomen is not covered by the elytra. The antennae have seven to ten segments terminating in a clava that is larger in males.
The females burrow into the ground, deposit 20–80 eggs, and die. The egg stage lasts ten to 45 days, and the larval stage ranges in length from a few months to three or four years. The pupal stage lasts two to four weeks. The white, C-shaped, fleshy larvae, with yellow or black-brown heads and long legs, live in the soil and feed on humus and plant roots. Upon emerging from their pupae the beetles feed on plant leaves. Sometimes they do not feed in the adult stage, especially desert and steppe species.
Insects of the group are distributed throughout the world, except in cold regions. They are especially numerous in the tropics. The group includes 5,000 species, about 240 of which are found in the USSR. Many are pests of agriculture and forestry, mainly the cockchafers (Melolontha hippocastani and M. melolantha), Polyphylla fullo, Amphimallon solstitiale, P. adspersa, and Anoxia pilosa. Control measures consist in repeated tilling of fallow fields and tree nurseries, planned cutting of forests, and the use of insecticides.
REFERENCESMedvedev, S. I. Plastinchatousye (Scarabaeidae). Moscow-Leningrad, 1951–52. (Fauna SSSR: Zhestkokrylye, vol. 10, nos. 1–2).
Medvedev, S. I. Lichinki plastinchatousykh zhukov fauny SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
Opredelitel’ nasekomykh Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 2. Leningrad, 1965.
Gornostaev, G. N. Nasekomye SSSR. Moscow, 1970.
O. L. KRYZHANOVSKII