"Beetle" is the common name for an insect from the order Coleoptera, the largest order of animals. There are over 400,000 identified species in this order, with thousands more still waiting to be discovered. Beetles are a diverse population of insects with a wide variety of habitats and diets. There are beetle species found in almost any habitat on the planet including lakes, rivers, rainforest and mountains. Depending on the species, beetles have been known to eat plants, pollen, fruit, wood or other creatures like insects, fish and birds.
A beetle has six legs and a head, thorax and abdomen. It has a hard shell or exoskeleton that covers its body. Beetle species range in size and color from black to bright colors with distinctive patterns. Beetles have two pairs of wings and, in most cases, strong jaws made for chewing. Spiders, ants, fish, frogs, rodents and birds are some of animals that eat beetles. Depending on the species, beetles will protect themselves from predators by running fast, burrowing or hiding, biting or releasing a chemical that is toxic to the predator.