What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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As a dominant group of terrestrial predators, Carabidae (ground beetles) occur in a wide variety of habitats. Darlington (1961, 1971) placed them in three main ecological groups: geophiles or mesophiles , which live on the ground but are not associated with water, hydrophiles living at the edges of streams or ponds or in swamps, and arboricoles living above the ground on tree trunks, logs or leaves. The proportion of geophiles: hydrophiles: arboricoles in the Australian fauna was found to be 2: 1: 1; in Papua New Guinea the ratio was closer to 1.2: 1: 1.

The classification of Carabidae has received a great deal of attention in the past 20 years, and there are still major problems to be solved at all levels (Ball 1979). A key to the subfamilies and tribes of the Australian Carabidae can be found in Lawrence & Britton 1994. The system used in this key follows that of Moore et al. (1987), which is based on that of Kryzhanovsky (1976).


A large group of active, cursorial, primarily carnivorous beetles with prominent mandibles and palps, a shortened metasternum with a distinct transverse suture, usually striate elytra and long, slender legs, and a characteristic series of punctures of fixed position bearing tactile setae. Except for the Paussini, carabids have an antenna cleaning organ, consisting of an excavation lined with a comb-like setal fringe located near the apex of the fore tibia. Carabid antennae (except those of Paussini and some Pseudomorphinae) are more or less uniformly pubescent beginning at the 3rd, 4th or 5th segment. Many ground beetles are black and shiny, but others are brightly coloured or metallic and a few are pubescent.

Larvae campodeiform, with well-developed legs, prominent antennae and mandibles, and almost always fixed urogomphi, which may be segmented.

  • Calosoma schayeri

  • Carabidae

  • Carabidae larvae

  • Trichista azurea

  • Dystipsidera sericea