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Ground Beetles or Carabids are part of a very large family of beetles. There are more than 40,000 members of this family who live all over the world. In the United States, there are about 2,200 different kinds of ground beetles. In Europe, there are more than 2,700 members of the ground beetle family. Look near the bottom of the page and you will find information on several of the different kinds of Ground Beetles.
Most ground beetles live under the bark of trees, or under logs that have fallen to the ground. However, there are also many ground beetles that live among the rocks or in the sand at the edge of ponds and rivers. At night, some ground beetles are attracted to lights, so you might be able to find one near a light after dark.
Most ground beetles eat other insect pests. Because they eat insect pests, they are considered beneficial bugs. Most kinds of ground beetles catch their prey (the other bugs they eat) because they can run very fast. They can run more than 5 miles per hour and are among the fastest land animals on earth. It is a good thing that they can run fast, because most ground beetles can not fly. Many ground beetles hunt for food at night, though there are some that come out during the day.
Ground Beetles are quite large in size compared to other bugs, so they can over power their prey. Most ground beetles are shiny black, though there are some ground beetles that have other colors on their bodies. Ground beetles have two hard wings (called Elytron). These hard wings protect the body of the beetle but can not be used for flying. Many kinds of ground beetles protect themselves from attack by other predators by discharging or giving off a substance that smells bad and makes other bugs sick. These "secretions" can injure small animals and kill other bugs. However, humans are not usually hurt by ground beetle secretions. In fact, ground beetles are not harmful to people and some of these beetles are kept as pets. On the Internet, you can find information guides about how to take care of a pet ground beetle.
Below you will find more information on some of the ground beetles found in North America. Follow the hyperlinks to learn more about them.