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There are over 350,000 beetle species worldwide, some of which differ greatly in their appearance and lifestyle. Many beetles (Coleoptera) are also native to Germany, including the popular ladybird. You can find out which Coleoptera you can also find in this country in the following overview.

scarab beetle

Another species-rich beetle family is that of the scarab beetle, with around 28,000 subspecies. The range of this beetle extends primarily over the tropics, but some scarab beetle species are also native to this country. The way of life of the scarab beetle differs depending on the species, because there are both dung and herbivores, but also predatory specimens. The latter includes, for example, Deltochilum valgum, which has a fondness for centipedes.

Scarab beetles can be both useful and harmful to agriculture. The scarab beetles also differ greatly in appearance, not just in their size. Some of them are particularly brightly colored and even scaly or hairy.

Melolontha hippocastani. Source: Syrio, Melolontha hippocastani Piazzo 02, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Latin name: Scarabaeidae
  • Size: 2-160mm
  • Colour: brightly colored, metallic shimmer
  • well-known beetles: wood cockchafer (Melolontha hippocastani), Eupoecila australasiae, Scarabaeus semipunctatus

Notice: Many of the large scarab beetle species are bred and collected because of their extraordinary appearance.

leaf beetle

Around 35,000 species of leaf beetles are known worldwide. The buyer is also widespread in Germany, because around 520 different leaf beetles are known in this country. The beetles stand out visually with their appearance, because they usually have a metallic shine or are brightly colored. Leaf beetles feed on plants and are therefore also feared by hobby gardeners. The Colorado potato beetle, for example, is particularly dangerous for agriculture and can devour entire fields in a very short time.

Leptinotarsa decemlineata
  • Latin name: Chrysomelidae
  • Size: 1-18mm
  • Colour: shiny metallic, colourful
  • well-known beetles: lily-of-the-valley beetle (Lilioceris merdigera), water lily leaf beetle (Galerucella nymphaeae), potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

longhorn beetle

Around 27,000 species of longhorn beetle are known, of which around 195 live in this country. The beetles usually have a dazzlingly colorful appearance and can become extremely large. The largest specimen is the long-horned beetle (Titanus giganteus), native to Brazil, which can reach a length of around 17 centimeters. The largest longhorn beetle in Germany is the Mulmbock (Ergates faber), which is up to about six centimeters long. Long-horned beetles feed on plants, with pollen, leaves and exuding tree sap being the main items on their menu. They can certainly cause damage to the plants because their larvae bore through the wood.

Saperda populnea. Source: Siga, Saperda populnea side, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Latin name: Cerambycidae
  • Size: up to 17 cm
  • Colour: Often brightly colored
  • Well-known beetles: Lesser poplar beetle (Saperda populnea), earthbuck (Dorcadion), weaver beetle (Lamia textor)


Rovos are among the most species-rich families within the Caleoptera. Of the more than 47,000 known beetle species, around 1,500 are native to Germany. There they live mainly in humid habitats, with many being found at the edges of water bodies. The way of life of these beetles differs depending on the species: some species are carnivorous and live predatory, while others live on plants or fungi. Many of the small species are mostly diurnal, while the larger specimens are mostly nocturnal.

Staphylinus caesareus. Source: Quartl, Staphylinus caesareus qtl1, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Latin name: Staphylinidae
  • Size: 1-30mm
  • known beetles: imperial rove beetle (Staphylinus caesareus)

ground beetle

Ground beetles are an extremely species-rich extended family and include over 40,000 species. Of these, over 550 live in Germany, with most being rural residents. Their habitat ranges from lowlands to alpine altitudes. They particularly prefer wet to dry and warm areas. Among other things, they live under bark, in caves, underground, but also on trees and bushes.

Most ground beetles are nocturnal and many of them can fly. They are predatory, feeding on other insects and larvae as well as larger mollusks such as worms and snails. They mostly find their food on land, although some beetles also hunt in the water.

Carabus auratus. Source: Arjan van Leest, Carabus auratus 02, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Latin name: Carabidae
  • Synonyms: real ground beetles, large ground beetles
  • Size: 1 - 85mm
  • Colour: dark or black, metallic
  • natural enemies: insectivores, ectoparasites
  • well-known beetles: gold ground beetle (Carabus auratus), pupa robber (Calosoma)

Notice: Some ground beetle species are now considered endangered.


The ladybug is indisputably one of the most popular families of Coleoptera. Around 6,000 ladybird species are known worldwide, of which around 82 live in this country. Ladybugs are medium-sized and have an oval to hemispherical body. They are able to fly and feed mostly on aphids and scale insects. That is why they are also considered beneficial insects in agriculture and are welcome beetles in the garden. Among the ladybirds there are also nocturnal specimens, such as the light ladybird (Calvia decemguttata).

Coccinella septempunctata
  • Latin name: Coccinellidae
  • Synonyms: Siebenpunkt, Glückskäfer, Herrgottskäfer, Moschekiebchen
  • Size: 1-12mm
  • Color: red, yellow, light beige, orange, brown, pink black
  • well-known beetles: seven-spot (Coccinella septempunctata), light ladybird (Calvia decemguttata), two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata)

Notice: Not all ladybird species have the typical black spots. Some specimens have white or yellow spots, while other ladybugs have no spots at all.


The weevils take the place of the most species-rich beetle families. More than 60,000 species of this Coleoptera are known worldwide, which make up around 15% of all beetle species. It is believed that weevils are even the most species-rich family of all living things. Many beetle species are also native to Germany, with around 950 species. They live on a wide variety of plants, with some beetle species being downright tied to certain plants. This is where the saying “every plant has its weevil” comes from. They not only live on the plants, but also feed on them, which is why they are feared by hobby gardeners.

Otiorhynchus sulcatus. Source: anonymous, ARS Otiorhynchus sulcatus, crop from Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
  • Latin name: Curculionidae
  • Synonyms: weevil
  • Size: 1.3-20mm
  • known beetle species: weevil (Hypera zoilus), weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

Notice: Some weevil species reproduce unisexually (parthenogenetic).

mud swimmer

The mudswimmer is one of the species-poor beetle families, because there is only one genus and six species of these beetles. Only one species is native to Europe and Germany, namely the Hygrobia hermanni. Mud swimmers mostly live in stagnant water, such as ponds. They prefer waters that are only moderately to little plant-covered. The mudswimmers are moderately good swimmers but tend to move slowly in the water. They feed on predators and lay their larvae in muddy-loamy areas.

Hygrobia hermanni. Source: Udo Schmidt, Hygrobia hermanni (Fabricius, 1775), crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Latin name: Hygrobiidae
  • Synonyms: wet beetles, screech beetles ("screech beetles"), swamp beetles
  • Size: 8.5-10mm
  • known beetle species: Hygrobia hermanni, Hygrobia davidi

quick beetle

Around 10,000 click beetle species are known worldwide, and their appearance is fairly uniform. They have an elongated body and are usually dark or red in color. A special feature of the click beetle is that they can catapult themselves into the air with the help of a jumping device. This allows them to quickly get out of the supine position and outrun enemies.

Click beetles mostly live in the soil, ground litter and dead wood. However, their way of life differs depending on the species: there are species that feed on plants and eat mainly leaves and flowers. Some click beetles, on the other hand, are predatory and feed on insect larvae. The larvae of the click beetle also like to gnaw on plant roots, which is why they are notorious as pests.

Ampedus sinuatus. Source: Siga, Ampedus sinuatus Greece, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Latin name: Elateridae
  • Synonyms: click beetles
  • Size: 0.9 - 75mm
  • known beetle species: Ampedus sinuatus, Ampedus erythrogonus, Ampedus rufipennis

Notice: The click beetles owe their English nickname “click beetles” to the sound they make when they catapult themselves into the air.

black beetle

The dark beetle is also one of the most species-rich families of the Coleoptera. According to current knowledge, there are around 20,000 species of beetle worldwide, of which only 67 have been reported in Germany. Among the black beetles there are both plants and omnivores. Although they prefer to eat rotting and rotten parts of plants, they also feed on seeds, fungi and dead insects. Typical human food supplies are also on their menu, which is why black beetles are sometimes regarded as dreaded pests.

Tenebrio molitor. Source: Donald Hobern from Copenhagen, Denmark, Tenebrio molitor (42203443085), crop from Plantopedia, CC BY 2.0
  • Latin name: Tenebrionidae
  • Synonyms: dark beetle
  • Size: 1 - 50mm
  • Color: black, black-brown, rusty yellow, brown
  • well-known beetle species: similar death beetle (Blaps lethifera), black beetle (Zophobas morio), flour beetle (Tenebrio molitor)

Notice: Numerous species of black beetles can secrete a quinone-containing secretion. This is particularly foul-smelling and is used to ward off natural enemies.

bacon beetle

The bacon beetle form a family with over 1300 species worldwide. They are characterized by its compact physique and a rounded or oval shape. The appearance can vary within the bacon beetle species: There are specimens whose armor is decorated, but also scaled or hairy animals. The way of life also differs within the bacon beetle species: There are blossom visitors and scavengers as well as bacon beetles that inhabit bird, bee and wasp nests. Bacon beetles also like to spread in the home, which is why they are considered storage and collection pests.

Anthrenus verbasci. Source: Tobias 67, Anthrenus verbasci TP01, crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Latin name: Dermestidae
  • Synonyms: common bacon beetle
  • Size: 1-10mm
  • Colour: brown to black ground colour, sometimes spotted
  • known beetle species: wool beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)

water treader

More than 200 species of the Wassertreter are known worldwide, of which around 20 are native to Germany. They are among the rather small beetle families, reaching a size of just five millimeters. Water Treaders prefer to live in still and slow-moving water, but they tend to be poor swimmers. In the water, they crawl more than swim. Water treaders feed, among other things, on aquatic plants as well as small crabs and mosquito eggs.

Haliplus ruficollis. Source: Udo Schmidt, Haliplus ruficollis (DeGeer, 1774), crop from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Latin name: Haliplidae
  • Size: 2-5mm
  • Colour: yellow to reddish brown, black spots/dots
  • known beetle species: Brychius elevatus, Haliplus ruficollis

Notice: Wassertreter refers not only to a family of beetles, but also to a genus of arctic snipe birds.

soft beetle

There are around 4,500 species of warblers worldwide, of which around 530 are native to Europe and 86 to Germany. Soft beetles prefer to live in forests and fields as well as in meadows and gardens. Many of them have a plant-based diet, while others have a predatory lifestyle. The latter preferably feed on small insect species, as well as caterpillars and aphids. A special feature of the soft beetle is its weakly sclerosed body, which is why it is very soft compared to many other beetles.

Rhagonycha fulva
  • Latin name: Cantharidae
  • Synonyms: Soldier Beetle
  • Size: 1.2-28mm
  • Color: red, black, yellow, blue, orange
  • well-known species of beetles: red wart beetle (Rhagonycha fulva), common wart beetle (Cantharis fusca)

Notice: The soldier beetle earned the nickname “soldier beetle” because of the striking coloring of many species.

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