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Sculptures by Phyllis Bone

Order Coleoptera - Beetles (Top)

  • Two pairs of wings
  • Forewings (elytra) are veinless, toughened and horny, covering the entire abdomen and meeting at the midline
  • Hindwings are membranous
  • 0.5 - 190mm long
  • Biting mouthparts
  • Prothorax is large, and covered by the pronotum
  • More than 300,000 species, 4,000 in Britain
  • World-wide
  • Habitats: from deserts to tropical regions, mainly ground dwelling and in vegetation, some aquatic
  • Feed on most solids, including crops, timber, pepper and dry bone
O. Coleoptera Macrodontia cervicornis
Click to view Beetle Collection

Elytra enclose a region of humid air next to the abdominal spiracles, thus reducing water loss.

Of economic importance due to destruction of timber, textiles, cereals, fruit crops, root crops, museum specimens etc.

Scavengers and carnivores provide valuable services by disposing of organic matter and other insects.

Rove beetles (family Staphilinidae) and female glow-worms (family Lampyridae) are the only families that do not possess the full eytra.

The Scarab beetles, Family Scarabidae, can support up to 850 times their own weight.

Order Neuroptera - Lacewings, Snakeflies, Alderflies, Ant lions (Top)

  • Two pairs of membranous wings
  • Dense network of cross veins on wings
  • Prominent vein forks at wing margins
  • 3mm - 100mm long
  • Chewing mouthparts
  • 6,000 species, 300 in Europe
  • World-wide, although families are more restricted
  • Habitats: amongst vegetation and ground debris, in woodland
  • Carnivores on smaller insects and pollen-eaters
O. Neuroptera description

Ant lions (family Myrmeleonidae) get their name from predating on ants as larvae. Larval ant lions position themselves at the bottom of funnel-shaped pits and eat the insects that become trapped.

Neuroptera give off distinctive odours when handled, e.g. Nymphes myrmeleonides smells of musk, and Myodactylus species smell of ants.

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