Beetles are the largest living organism in the world! Scientist have discovered over 350, 000 species, with many more still undiscovered. One in every five organism is a beetle, even with plant life included. Some scientist even estimates that there may be over 3 million beetle species. Beetles are extremely versatile and are found everywhere on Earth except the polar regions. Beetles that roam the Earth today first made their appearance 230 million years ago. This means that beetles survived whatever may have killed the dinosaurs. The first fossil of what resembled a beetle; date back to 270 million years ago.
Beetles have the ability to both help and hurt the environment. While some beetles like the dung help the environment by eating unnecessary waste and pollinate plants, other are destroy crops and trees. While most beetles do prefer a meal of fruits, leaves and seeds, some do prey on birds and other small animals. Beetles are also a food source for a wide variety of animals, birds, fish and even humans. There are over 3000 types of beetles that humans eat. Most of these are eaten in the larvae stage before the hard outer shell is formed. Eating beetles was one a way to survive in primitive life-styles, but now are sought after delicacies in most countries. Eating beetles will not only provide a great supply of protein and healthy fast, but most beetles also provide amino acids and micronutrients such as copper, iron and magnesium. Unlike other insects, beetles actually chew their food. The have mandibulate mouthparts that allow them to open and close their mouth.
Although beetles appear to have a hard exterior body, it is actually a hard pair of wings called elytra. These hard wings actually protect another paid of softer wings. The softer wings actually give them their ability to fly. Some beetles, despite the fact they have wings, never fly. And some are great swimmers. While most think beetles are either brown or black, they can actually range in colors from red, yellow, orange or green. Some beetles are even multi-colored. Other beetles have stripes and patterns that help camouflage them from their predators. Don’t let the size of a beetle fool you either, some of them have very big ways of protecting themselves. Flightless beetles are able to shot a stream of formic acid, which will burn your skin and eyes. Other beetles are able to release a yellow blood-like substance that will gum up the mouth of their attackers.Some beetles are so poisonous that primitive communities will use them on the tip of their hunting bows.