Habits and Traits of Beetles, Order Coleoptera

Habits and Traits of Beetles, Order Coleoptera

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

Coleoptera means “sheath wings,” a reference to the hardened forewings which cover the insect’s body. Most people can easily recognize members of this order – the beetles.

Beetles comprise nearly a quarter of all the described species on Earth. Over 350,000 species are known worldwide. The order is subdivided into four suborders, two of which are rarely observed. The suborder Adephaga includes ground beetles, tiger beetles, predacious diving beetles, and whirligigs. Water pennies, carrion beetles, fireflies, and the beloved lady beetles are all members of the larger suborder Polyphaga.

Description

Beetles have hardened forewings, called elytra, which protect the delicate hindwings folded beneath them. The elytra are held against the abdomen at rest, meeting in a straight line down the middle of the back. This symmetry characterizes most members of the order Coleoptera. In flight, a beetle holds the elytra out for balance and uses its membranous hindwings for movement.

Beetles feeding habits are widely varied, but all have mouthparts adapted for chewing. Many beetles are herbivores, feeding on plants. The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, causes heavy damage in gardens and landscapes, leaving skeletonized leaves on the plants it devours. Bark beetles and borers can do considerable damage to mature trees.

Predatory beetles attack other invertebrates in the soil or vegetation. Parasitic beetles may live on other insects or even mammals. A few beetles scavenge decaying organic matter or carrion. Dung beetles use manure as food and to shelter developing eggs.

Habitat and Distribution

Beetles are found worldwide, in virtually all terrestrial and aquatic habitats on Earth.

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Feet: variety of beetle species, lifestyle and habitat

Bat is a nocturnal animal living uniformly in almost all parts of the world except Arctic and Antarctic regions. The population of bats constitute more than one quarter of all mammals. There are more than 1100 species of bats with some of them making few million counts. They live anywhere like caves, forests, abandoned buildings, trees, mountains, deserts and even on sea-sides. They are of less weight and it is the bumblebee bat which is ranked the smallest mammal in the world.

Bat Facts :

Bat is the only mammal that is capable of flying. Feather like body and less weight makes the bat to fly easily. Bats have exceptionally high sense of hearing. It can hear any small sound even from the distance of 6 miles long. They use the echolocation method for identifying its prey. It emits a sound that reaches the object (prey) and bounce back. A bat can easily make out how far the prey is and how fast it is traveling even from the place in which they are flying. It all takes less than a second for a bat to recognize its prey.

Bats feed on tons of insects each day thus helping in pest control. Bats are capable of flying in great heights. Bats can live up to 30 years thus having long lifespan of all mammals. Most of the bat species are carnivorous feeding on insects, frogs and fruits. Only few species of bat involve in sucking blood from animals. Bats have amazing digestive system and can digest almost any type of food in just 20 minutes.

Some bats are very small measuring less than 2 cm but there are some species that has large wings spreading over 2 meters. Most of the bats do not have the capacity to make vitamin C from their food which can be due to genetic predisposition.

Diet :

More than half of the species are carnivores feeding on small insects and rodents. As said earlier, they consume thousands of insects each hour thus helps in keeping the environment clean. They are fond of birds, lizards and prey on small mammals like rats. They could spot the insects from far-off places. It is not an overstatement to say that there would be insects – insects everywhere if bats were not there. Their favorite food is mice and insects.

One could not see the bat catching an insect and feeding on it, however minute he may watch. It is because the bat rapidly spots the insect from great heights and catches it with its tail membrane quickly and feeds on it within split of second. It can catch thousands of aerial insects in the mid-air with great accuracy and speed. Bats are very smart in sensing the sounds made by frogs inside the water and locate them within seconds. Some of them use echolocation to catch tiny fishes that creates ripples on water.

Some bats feed only on fruits and nectar. Only three species of bats stick on to the diet of blood, known as vampire bats. They largely feed on big mammals to suck their blood from wounds or injury. The dung of bat is called guano is largely used as nutrients for soil by farmers.

Habitat :

Bat can live in all zones and places of world. It adapts to the surrounding environment by choosing the diet and right climate for its survival. It is considered to be the most widely seen mammal in all continents of the world except for freezing zones and Polar Regions.

They select different habitat depending on the season. They hibernate on the roosts found in trees, crevices and man-made holes most of the day and start hunting on the night. There are millions of bats in some of its species and few species are becoming extinct now.

Behavior :

Bats have the rare quality of sensing its prey using sounds. It is known as echolocation which is a process in which they emit sound which gets bounced back when it hits an object. Bats can sense the direction and exact location of the object (whether it is animal, bird or insect) and even its size in just fraction of second using this principle.

Most of the species live in groups/colonies thus making thousands and millions of bats in caves and dense trees. But some species live alone preferring solitary nature. Bats migrate from one place to another to escape from winter cold and some of them go into torpor (hypothermia) which may last from few hours to few months also. They can travel thousands of kilometers to avoid winter.

Bats do not fly in rain since they cannot use echolocation for hunting its prey since the sound of rain will interfere with the sound emitted by them. Apart from echolocation they also make special sound which is connected with their behavior. Bats are self-conscious grooming like a teenager. They clean and lick themselves and also other groups spending hours together for cleaning and grooming.

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Predators :

The main enemies of bat are hawks, eagle, large snakes and falcons. Some large spiders are capable of eating bats caught in its web.

Lifestyle :

Most of the bats are nocturnal (active in night) and they are capable of sensing its prey from any distance. These are the smallest mammals capable of flying any distances at great heights. They generally live in colonies in the caves, forests and trees and choose their destination after ascertaining the availability of food.

Lifecycle :

Bats are capable of flying 25 miles per hour and are at par with many birds. Since they are mammals the mothers take care of the young ones until they have learnt to fly and find its food. Most of them are black or brown in color but there are few species in white color.

Breeding :

Bats (unlike other mammals) yield only one pup during a year. Gestation (pregnancy term) for bats vary widely according to the size. Small sized bats have gestation period as low as 40 days and some large ones will extend their pregnancy stage till 6 months.

Bats are considered to be the slowest of all mammals in the aspect of reproduction. The birth weight of the pup would be up to 25% of the mother’s weight. Females will make arrangement of maternity colonies for taking care and nurturing their young one but males do not generally help the females in raising the pups. Breeding seasons is normally spring or in warm climatic condition. It would first check for abundant food supplies before building the maternity colony and mating. Some female bats will have 2-3 litters in a year however they yield only one pup for a year.

It is really difficult for the mother to carry their young ones while flying. The pup will feed on the milk of the mother which has to depend on plenty of insects to prevent starving of the self and young one. The young ones can become fully mature and independent ranging from 6 weeks to 4 months, depending on its size. Females mate with their counterpart only if the conditions are favorable and food is available in plenty.

It is very surprising to note that females will not release the sperm to fuse with eggs until the spring comes. Unlike other species fertilization do not take place immediately after mating. All these efforts are taken care of by the female bats for the ultimate survival of its young one without any hazard.

Appearance :

Bats are mammals ranging from the smallest size (less than 2 cm) to 180 cm in length. According to their size their weight varies from 2 gm to 1000 gm. They are small black creatures looking similar to that of mice. It can extend its wings while flying. Bats belong to the order of Chiroptera and his forelimbs are modified into webbed wings. It is the only mammal capable of true flight capable of flying any distance.

It has an excellent sense of smell which it uses to locate foods and finding roosts. Bats which eat fruits and nectar have increased sense of smell for identifying new variety of plants. It is a myth that bats are blind. They have small blackish brown eyes and have clear eyesight. Their eyes are capable of locating objects clearer in the dark than during the day. They have a pair of strong feet which is used to hang upside down in the roosts. It uses the membrane of its body to make upward and downward movements. Its forelimbs are in the form of wings and there is “lift” like feature between the 4th finger and 5th finger.

Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Bat :

Life Span :

Life span of a bat is more than many mammals in the world. A bat can live up to 30-35 years. It is interesting to note that in-spite of its small size it can live such a lengthy period which is impossible for many small mammals. White nose syndrome is a type of fungus that attacks and kills several species of bats deteriorating its population.

Bats At a Glance :

  • Bats are the only mammals capable of flying long distance.
  • Bats are nocturnal in habit and live in almost all places of the planet.
  • They account for almost one quarter of the entire mammal population in the world.
  • They help in pest control by eating thousands of insects every hour.
  • Bats have the highest life span among mammals living for 30 years.

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Bee insect. Description, features, species, lifestyle and habitat of the bee

Description and Features

From childhood, everyone knows that honey is a healthy, nutritious and amazing product. It does not deteriorate, stored for centuries, treats from a huge variety of diseases, contains with itself a whole set of substances indispensable for health and unique enzymes.

Each child also knows that honey is naturally produced by insects called bees. This substance is a nectar of flowers, specially transformed, that is, digested to a certain stage in the goiter of these small honey beings.

Just about bees — tireless in their industriousness insects that supply not only humans, but also many other creatures on Earth with such a valuable and irreplaceable product, our story will go.

Beeinsecthaving a size of about 3 cm. Its color outfit is composed of black stripes that alternate with yellow-orange areas. These creatures are completely covered with hairs that perform protective functions and play the role of touch organs.

Thanks to bees, people get a valuable and useful product — honey

Their body is divided into three departments, fastened together by elastic thin membranes. The first is a small head; then follows the chest — the area of ​​the body is slightly larger; and the last section and the most significant in size is the abdomen.

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All these links of the body perfectly show bee photo. In addition, these creatures have six legs and are endowed with two pairs of thin, differing in size, wings, interconnected in flight by means of microscopic hooks.

The senses of the bee are extremely interesting and complex. First of all, they include eyes, which in fact there are as many as five. Two complex eyes, clearly visible on both sides of the head, are built from small facets. Their number is huge, numbering thousands of microscopic elements.

An interesting feature of a bee is the presence of five eyes

Three simple eyes, they are located on the crown of the insect. And all these components of the visual organs allow the bee to perceive polarized light and the rays of the ultraviolet spectrum. These creatures are able to see blue and yellow, which can not be said about the shades of red.

The antennae on their head serve as their olfactory organs, in addition, they help to feel cold and warmth, determine the humidity and concentration of gases in the air. Bees are heard with their feet and some parts of the body. The long proboscis on the head allows them to collect flower nectar, and the taste organs are also located on it.

Bees belong to an extensive order of Hymenoptera. And they are related, with wasps similar to them in many ways of structure. Also, ants are considered close relatives of the creatures described and their fellow brothers, although they do not belong to the category insects, bee-like.

Rather, some species of flies seem to look like our honey beings, for example, the so-called ghost. She also has a striped abdomen with orange hue patches, and also emits a similar buzz. This is a vivid example of a simple, often described by biologists, mimicry.

That is, nature endowed such a fly with the appearance of poisonous insects, which include the bee, in order to protect themselves. Therefore, with a superficial glance, a bee with a creek is easy to confuse.

Bee species

There are a huge number of bee varieties known. In total, there are more than two tens of thousands of them worldwide. All bees are divided into two categories: domestic and wild.

It is no secret that people from the most time immemorial breed these insects to get honey. But not only it, but also other valuable substances: propolis, wax and medicinal poison. But exist in nature and wild bees.

They are slightly smaller in size. Their color should be called primitive, its shades are not very bright, rather muted, and the color schemes are mostly monochromatic. Savage chest is equipped with a protective shell.

The hairs on their body grow much thicker than that of domesticated brethren, playing the role of an insect coat, saving them during periods of bad weather and cold weather.

The size of wild bees is much smaller than that of domestic

Of the vast varieties of the bee kingdom, it is worth highlighting the most interesting. And the first to be mentioned are real bees. This is the name of the whole family, in which there are about five thousand varieties. Among them:

1. Honey bees — most breeds of such bees have long been used by people and therefore are well known to them. At first, our very distant ancestors in the hollows of trees simply found refuge for such insects and took honey from them. But gradually they began to breed, containing in decks, either constructed from bark or made from clay.

Much later, they began to build houses for these honey beings called hives. And invented easy-to-use frames. It is very simple to extract honey from such structures along with the honeycombs containing it.

2. Bumblebees — this is a whole genus of bees in many ways similar to their melliferous counterparts. In total, about three hundred species of such insects are known. They live on all continents of the Northern Hemisphere. Among their relatives, they earned the fame of the most cold-resistant. By the way, this greatly increases their chances of survival.

Bumblebees have the opportunity to fly out to collect nectar in the early morning, when the rays of the gentle spring or summer sun have not yet warmed up the air. Thus, they are ahead of their competitors and collect all the most delicious from flowers and other plants.

The outfit of each type of bumblebee is different. In some of them, yellow stripes alternate with black, while in others they are orange or red. There are completely dark varieties.

Bumblebees also belong to the bee family.

Among the representatives of this kingdom of insects there are real giants that are noticeable more beesthat we’re all used to. A striking example of this are specimens of the genus megahill. And their size is really impressive, because their wingspan can reach 6 cm. By the way, these bees are not able to produce honey at all. They live in colonies and are famous for their particular aggressiveness.

In the photo a bee carpenter

Lifestyle & Habitat

Bees take root in any areas of the planet where flowers grow. They are the main source of their nutrition. And it is from the nectar of plants, as already mentioned, these insects produce honey. It’s no secret that these creatures also play an important role for the natural and most active pollinators for flowers. And many species of terrestrial flora without bees could not exist and successfully reproduce.

Where live representatives of the kingdom of these insects has already been mentioned — in beehive. But their wild relatives try to settle in forest hollows, crevices, holes. If the climate of the area is quite mild, then the bee nest most often simply hangs high on the trees. Sometimes they sit between the walls or in the attic of houses.

The nests of the described insects are structures of double-sided vertical honeycombs. And without them it is impossible to even imagine the life of a bee family (that is, a swarm, because such colonies are commonly called).

Wild bees choose to nest hollows and crevices in trees

Such cells are constructed that have the correct shape and have the appearance of a hexagon from the wax secreted by these insects. For each bee species, honeycombs have their own specific sizes, usually corresponding to the size of the insects themselves.

And the inhabitants of the nest always carefully monitor their integrity. In fresh form, that is, initially, the cells have a white tint, but over time they darken.

These insects live in colonies, whose members are divided into castes. But the types that make up the bee family should be described in more detail.

1. Worker bees — the most numerous caste, of which representatives mainly consists of a bee’s nest. We usually see them in everyday life when we are in nature. The number of this type of inhabitants in the nest can reach up to 80 thousand.

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What do bees do? They are engaged in the main work, that is, the search for suitable plants and the extraction of nectar from them. All working insects are underdeveloped females. They appear precisely and only from fertilized eggs.

2. The uterus — this creature in the bee family is the only full-fledged special female. And all the other members of the swarm come precisely from her. Since the uterus gives life to the entire community, it is in a revered position, therefore it feeds on working bees and is carefully guarded by them.

This is natural, because without a uterus, family members are threatened with extinction. What the swarm has, the rest will know by the smell emanating from it. If this is not observed, this serves as an alarm that the uterus is dead and it is necessary to grow a new one.

3. Drones are males whose purpose is to fertilize the uterus, but they have no other duties. They are larger than working family members and emerge from unfertilized eggs. And there is much more food to feed them.

And therefore, if there is no need for them, the drones are mercilessly expelled by other family members. Sometimes they fall into other nests. But during the onset of cold weather, when the collection of flower nectar and active reproduction ends, they have no choice but to die from hunger and cold.

Rest bees in winter also sharply forced to change their ordinary way of life. Beekeepers take care of the content of domestic insects. And wild brothers are saturated with wax and propolis and climb into the cracks.

It is already clear that the most important product that these insects eat is honey. But the quality of this substance depends on many factors. For example, from how these little creatures survived the winter adversity. In addition, the taste of the honey is greatly influenced by the type of plants from which nectar is extracted.

It is best that these representatives of the flora do not contain an excess of glucose, sucrose and carbohydrates, because such elements contribute to the accelerated crystallization of this product. And in this form, honey cannot be fully consumed by bees.

And even having collected a significant amount of this substance, they are quite capable of dying of hunger. Undesirable plants, for example, include mustard, heather, cotton and some others.

In cases where its nutrition is not high enough, bee very suffering. And all members of the nest become susceptible to diseases and feel bad. Good honey plants include: apple, cherry, pear, willow, linden and many others.

Reproduction and longevity

Depending on different domestic circumstances, the bee swarm emits different from one another in timbre and buzzing height. Therefore, experienced beekeepers by the sounds of the hive are quite able to understand what is happening inside the bee house.

The noise of the nest makes it possible, for example, to find out that the insects inside it are cold. He also talks about other problems, because each caste of the family “sings” with its own voice.

When the inhabitants of the hive are about to swarm, they also emit strictly defined sounds. This happens when the members of the nest decided to split into two families. In this case, one part of the swarm flies away with the old experienced uterus. And in the bowels of the former, a young female is raised.

To develop the future uterus, bees build special honeycombs. This «queen» of the family emerges from a fertilized egg. And when it turns into a larva, it is fed with a special milk. It depends on the quality of the feed: whether an ordinary working bee or uterus will come out of a female egg.

The ability to reproduce the bee flock in the latter manifests itself already at ten days of age. Queen bee over life has a great many contacts with drones. And they are calculated not even by billions, but by a figure with a huge number of zeros.

At the same time, the mass of eggs that a successor of the bee genus lays per day often exceeds its own live weight. But with the age of the uterus, the quality of the offspring changes. At the same time, in the third year of life in the hive, more and more drones appear, and this is already bad for the survival of the family.

Working bees usually exist in the world for no more than 40 days. But if they appear in the family closer to autumn, then, including a passive winter period, they can live up to six months. The life of the drones is even less. However, the uterus in this sense is a champion. She is able to live sometimes up to 4 years.

What to do if a bee has bitten?

The sting of this creature is located at the end of the abdomen. It has a notch, due to which this insect is not able to survive after an enemy attack. Bee sting it gets stuck in the body of the enemy, and its helpless creation loses, which causes the death of the brave defender of the nest.

But the victim himself, who received a portion of the poison, also gains additional problems from bee loss. After all, the sting can get stuck in the skin and then continue to secrete harmful substances.

The poison of this insect is very effective in composition. First, the victim of his action feels pain. Then the sting site becomes red, then a very unpleasant edema appears, which subsides only after several (most often two or three) days.

In addition, foreign substances that enter the bloodstream can cause an allergy attack. But at the same time bee sting may be useful. After all, the poison of these insects in small doses is endowed with healing properties. It kills bacteria and, in addition to harmful ones, contains many useful substances.

If a person was attacked by this insect, he should first remove the sting, and then treat the affected area with potassium permanganate or any other antiseptic. Cold compresses also greatly contribute to healing. In addition, drinking plenty of fluids is beneficial, as it activates the withdrawal of toxic ingredients.

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