|Fiery Searcher Beetle – Calosoma scrutator|
Family Carabidae. The fiery searcher is commonly known as the "caterpillar hunter."
These rather large (35mm) beetles and their larvae prey on caterpillars. Adult fiery searchers are active during the daytime, and larvae at night. Both frequently climb trees in search of prey. They are found in gardens, crop fields and open woods throughout southern Canada and the U.S.
Ground Beetles (Carabidae) comprise a large family of over 3,000 species in North America. They are found under logs, rocks, and in forest floor leaf litter in moist areas. They measure between 3-36mm long. Most are shiny black, but some, such as the fiery searcher pictured here, are brightly metallic in color. They have a relatively large prothorax, narrow head, and long legs with spurred tibia. The antennae are threadlike, and there is a single pair of compound eyes. Most are nocturnal, hunting on the ground. Bombardier Beetles are members of this family.
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Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America. Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.