Ground Beetle

grade school garden project needs help
April 18, 2010
We found this beetle outside our school and our teacher asked us to identify it as dangerous or not. He thinks it may kill trees. We have looked far and wide in other resources and can’t tell for sure. We think it may be a type of ground beetle? It is dark brown, with iridescent sheen and a pock-marked back. No stripes. Purple flares from the midsection. Narrow head. Thicker thighs, skinny lower legs. 3/4 of an inch long. Any ideas?
Matilda, grade 2
upstate New York

Ground Beetle

Dear Matilda,
You are correct that this is a Ground Beetle in the family Carabidae.  Ground Beetles are beneficial predators.  Often identifying them to the species level requires an expert’s examination.

Eric Eaton provides a species identification
The ground beetle from upstate New York on April 18 is almost certainly Carabus nemoralis, a flightless predator of mostly caterpillars and other soft-bodied invertebrates.

1 thought on “Ground Beetle”

  1. In fact, to be techical, they are in the Genus Carabus, subgenus Archicarabus, of the species Carabus Nemoralis ( aka European Ground Beetle ) in the family Carabidae. I used to collect these beetles all the time when I was a kid.
    This particular species originated in central and northern Europe, was introduced in North America with the early European Immigrants. It’s fairly common beetle here in New York City, and the northeast in general, the area of it’s initial original historical introduction. It’s range has been expanding westard though, mostly in northern US and Canada. There are even reports that it has recently started to establish a new foothold in New Zealand.


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