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(insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola >
Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles)
> Suborder: Adephaga
A large family with about 289 genera and 1638
species in southern Africa. Species are predominantly ground-dwelling predators. Usually
black or brown and some such as Graphipterus, are beige and black
patterned. The head is flattened with powerful, forward-facing jaws. They are
well adapted predators with large eyes and long, strong legs. While most are
opportunistic hunters, some, eg. Harpalus, have largely a
Most are terrestrial (ground living)
and flightless and the elytra are fused. Arboreal (tree living) species
are capable of flight. They occupy various habitats on the ground -
moist places, stream banks, under leaf litter, open sandy patches, under
bushes, grass and stones. Cave dwellers are blind or have rudimentary
They rely on speed and agility
for defence. Their most powerful defence 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.
Eggs are generally laid in the soil.
Larvae are active and free-living with well developed legs for burrowing
or running. They are the longest living beetles and can live for up to 4
This family includes 30 or more
subfamilies some of the larger ones being Anthiinae, Brachininae, Cicindelinae, Claeniinae,
Harpalinae, Lebiinae, Paussinae, Pterostichinae,
Some subfamilies, genera and species from southern Africa
Basilewsky, P. 1950. Revision générale des
Harpalinae d'Afrique et de Madagascar (Coleoptera, Carabidae).
Annales de Musée Royal du Congo Belge. Série in Octavo 6: 8-283; 9:
Basilewsky, P. 1954. Revision des genres
Hystrichopus Boheman et Plagiopyga Boheman. (Coleoptera,
Carabidae, Lebiinae). Annales de Musée Royal du Congo Belge. Série
in Octavo 31: 1-97.
Basilewsky, P. 1958. Coleoptera: Carabidae. In
Hanstrom, Brinck & Rudebeck (q.v.), 5: 212-317.
Basilewsky, P. 1966. Révision des Megacephala
d'Afrique. Annales de Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale. Série in
Octavo . Zoologie 152: 1-49.
Basilewsky, P. 1977. Révision du genre
Graphipterus Latreille (Coleoptera, Carabidae). Annales de Musée
Royal de l'Afrique Centrale. Série in Octavo 221: 1-468.
Basilewsky, P. 1980. Les Reicheiina de l'Afrique du
Sud (Coleoptera, Carabidae). Entomologia Generalis 6(2/4):293-302.