Welcome to the "Beetles of North Carolina" website!
Aims of this website
Our intention with this website is to take a closer look at beetles. We have two main aims in this regard:
• Provide information to people who are interested in learning more about beetles. This website aims to provide a compendium of all of the beetle species recorded in North Carolina, with pictures of each species, information on species identification, general information about their distribution in the state (by county), their relative abundance in the state, their seasonal occurrence in the state, their habitats, and their food preferences, as well as additional comments on the species (such as notable facts, taxonomic issues, or population trends). County maps of occurrence are provided for each species.
• Build a base of public support for the conservation of beetles and their habitats in North Carolina. We want to make clear the situation that faces beetles and other species in terms of their continued survival in our state and share this information to help guide conservation decisions made by individual land-owners, conservation organizations, governmental agencies, and particularly by the public. To accomplish these goals, especially where they involve beetles or other species not usually given much public attention, we need to make our case from the best evidence we can muster, placing the plight of beetles well within the context of the larger world of which both we and they are an important part.
How to navigate the website
To see a species account, start typing the scientific name in the Search Scientific Name field or, if a common name exists, the common name is the Search Common Name field. Names of species appear on the screen; click on the correct species that you want, so that the full name appears in the field box; then click Find (to the right). Once you are at a species account, you can navigate to the previous species in the checklist sequence by clicking on the Tiger Beetle on the left, or to the next species in the checklist order by clicking on the Tiger Beetle on the right. You can also get to additional species by entering text in either of the Search Common or Search Scientific boxes; click on the full species name; then click on the blue Find tab. A third way to get to another species (within the same Family) is to click the down arrow under the scientific name, where the box shows other members in the Family; click on the species of interest.
How to Identify a Beetle
While we will eventually have identification tips included in the Species Accounts for all species that occur in the state, there are a number of other identification guides that already exist and are specifically tailored for identifying an unknown beetle. Information on these resources is included in the Identification Guides tab on the main menu bar located at the top of the Home Page.
How to become a Citizen Scientist
One of our main aims is to involve the public in documenting the distribution and habitat associations of the state’s beetle fauna. We therefore welcome records from anyone wishes to submit for species observed in North Carolina. Information on how to submit records and the details we need to vet the records are included in the Citizen Science tab on the main menu bar located at the top of the Home Page.
Number of species with records: 99
Number of records: 1,487
|Clicking on a county returns a list of its species.|
|Citation: Hall, S., C. Sorenson, E. Corey, M. Shields, J. Anderson, and T. Howard. cite_year. Beetles of North Carolina [Internet]. Raleigh (NC): North Carolina Biodiversity Project and North Carolina State Parks. Available from https://auth1.dpr.ncparks.gov/beetles/index.php.|
Why devote a website to beetles?
The Beetles of North Carolina Website is being developed through a partnership between the North Carolina State Parks System (NC DPR) and the North Carolina Biodiversity Project (NCBP), a non-profit, education- and conservation-oriented association composed of field biologists specializing in taxonomy, ecology, and conservation of the state’s native species and ecosystems. This partnership serves NC DPR’s mission of providing "environmental education opportunities that promote stewardship of the state's natural heritage". It is also serves NCBP core interests in promoting awareness and interest in the general public concerning the state’s rich variety of native species, and in generating a wide base of support for the conservation of these resources.
How to Identify a Beetle
This website depends on accurately identified species records, but we are primarily interested in figuring out distributions, habitat associations, and conservation status based on those records. There are several other sources that are devoted more to identification and we recommend that they be consulted first in order to come up with at least an initial identification (a preliminary species name is, in fact, required to submit a record). Once an initial identification is made, however, you may then want to consult the Species Accounts in our website for additional information on the field marks and other information that we ourselves use as standards for diagnosing a particular species.
Peterson Field Guides: Beetles By Richard E. White Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983
A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada: Identification, Natural History, and Distribution of the Cicindelidae by David L. Pearson, C. Barry Knisley, Charles J. Kazilek
Where no apparent match can be made through this process, BugGuide also offers to identify photos of unknown species (see http://bugguide.net/node/view/6/bgimage?from=24). This is a free service and is done via collaboration with BugGuide’s existing members (joining BugGuide is also free).
DNA analysis has resulted in a revolution in taxonomic studies, revealing new relationships between species and in many cases leading to the discovery of new species that had not been previously identified based on morphology alone. Although these techniques are not yet generally available to anyone wishing to identify a particular unknown specimen, they are becoming more routinely used by taxonomists.One approach now in wide use is Genetic Barcoding. This is a DNA sequencing technique that has become exceedingly popular over the past 10 years and has now been used to examine the taxonomic status of many groups of species, including a number of Coleopterans (see http://www.boldsystems.org/index.php/). This method reads the sequence of nucleotides in a single mitochondrial gene (CO1) analogously to the way a barcode reader identifies a product label in a grocery store: each species has a unique sequence (with some minor variation among individuals and populations) that serves as a unique identifier, allowing comparisons to be made between an unknown specimen and previously sequenced species.
The CO1 gene (which codes for a portion of Cytochrome Oxidase, an enzyme used in energy production in the mitochondria) is present in all eucaryotes (animals, plants, fungi, and protista). Differences in the sequences between species reflects the accumulation of mutations that do not affect the function of the gene (i.e., are neutral in their effects). Such mutations are believed to occur randomly but to accumulate at a fairly fixed rate (similar to the radioactive decay of atoms). This provides a “molecular clock” for gauging how long two particular populations – once originally part of the same gene pool -- have been genetically isolated from one another: the longer the period of isolation, the greater the degree of their differences in their sequences for the CO1 gene.
Research has shown that a 2% difference in CO1 sequences is usually sufficient to identify two populations as distinct species, where individuals are no longer capable of interbreeding. This is true even where there may be little or no obvious differences in outward appearance (at least to a human observer). While that does not mean that species cannot become reproductively isolated over shorter intervals. Where a 2% difference is found, however, that usually indicates that a more careful search be made for differences in morphological, behavioral or ecological characters, revealing characters that allow for a conclusive recognition of new species
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