Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Social Beetles

  • Peter H. W. BiedermannEmail author
  • Jon A. Nuotclà
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_108-1


Ambrosia beetle; Bark beetle; Bess beetle; Burying beetle; Darkling beetle; Dung beetle; Fungus beetle; Rove beetle; Stag beetle

With about 400,000 species, beetles (Coleoptera) are the largest order of animals, making up almost 40% of described insect species and 25% of all known animal species. Beetles are present in virtually all habitable terrestrial environments. They can live well both on land and in fresh water and use a great variety of food sources from detritus to living fungi, plants, and other animals. Very few species live in durable structured groups, but social structures of various kinds are nonetheless diverse. These include larval and adult aggregations, prolonged uni- and biparental care, facultative eusociality, and possibly even obligate eusociality [3].

A very small number of these social systems are well studied, such as parental care in burying beetles (Silphidae) and adult aggregations in tree-killing bark beetles (Curculionidae) [5]. It is...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group Insect-Fungus Symbiosis, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical BiologyAm Hubland, BiocenterWuerzburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral Ecology, Institute of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland