Subfamily: Anthiinae (spotted ground beetles, tyrant ground beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Suborder: Adephaga > Family: Carabidae (ground beetles)

They rely on speed and agility for defense. Their most powerful defense mechanism is a chemical that is secreted in a pygidial gland in the area of the ninth abdominal segment. It is made up of concentrated organic acids or quinone and is squirted at an attacker in a strong jet. Anthia can spray a jet of formic acid up to 30cm and it is said to cause blindness in cats and chickens.

Anthia beetles mimicked by lizards.

Some genera and species that occur in southern Africa.

Thermophilum homoplatum, Two-spotted Ground Beetle, 35mm predator of other ground-dwelling insects. Found mainly in savanna, woodland and grassland regions of southern Africa and beyond. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

Thermophilum decemguttatum, Ten-spotted Ground Beetle, 28mm predator of other ground-dwelling insects. Found in sandy areas of karoo and fynbos in South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape) and Namibia. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

Thermophilum fornasinii, 48mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

Atractonotus  mulsanti, Ant-mimicking Ground Beetle, 10mm. [image by A. Weaving , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

Page by Margie Cochrane


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