For some time I have been fascinated by beetles, and also a bit concerned at the seemingly disproportionately low number of beetle observations (Globally and in India) in relation to their commonly accepted number of species.
I was guilty of overlooking beetles for a while, but I’m trying to pay more attention. This year, I’ve seen many new-for-me rove and click beetles while moth watching and interesting diurnal beetles like Tetraopes discoideus.
Also, I wish you the best of luck spreading the iNaturalist gospel in India. I’ve noticed the CV is so biased by North American and European observations that it can be tough to get good suggestions in south Asia.
There are many Beetle species. Insects are capable of fast reproduction and are numerous on earth. I tended to a garden some years back. Leaf beetles are most active at dusk, 8pm perhaps. They come out to eat the leaves of plants. If the lights are switched on at night in the house, beetles may fly towards lights. Grubs are found in compost or in the soil. Some compost piles and decaying logs in forests may have grubs , but watch for snakes. Cobras like to hide under the dried coconut leaves in a pile. Beetles feed on flowers and pollen, try to find some flowering plants, you will have a chance of seeing beetles too. Beetles are agricultural pest. Rhinoceros beetles and coconut beetles, they eat the heart of palms . If you see a coconut tree with the top fronds dropping off and huge holes, it may be due to beetles but as coconut trees are too high up, it is impossible to observe them unless they fly out. Rhino beetles’ grubs are in compost pile. Long horn beetles are very varied. Mango Longhorn and a few species makes a loud sound in mid-day. I thought some cicada-like sounds are actually made by certain species of longhorn beetles. so following the sounds may lead to a beetle. Need sharp eyes to spot them in the trees though. Once I broke a decaying side branch on a tree and spotted several extremely colourful longhorn beetles. I didn’t take pictures of them as I didn’t have a camera with me. These beetles may hide under bark too. Longhorn beetles are often wood borers.
There are aquatic beetles. There are small weevils in rice grains. Nowadays I haven’t seen them. It was common to spot them in the past in rice. Need a good macro camera to photograph them though as they are so small.
Ladybirds are often seen in gardens, under the leaves of some cucurbits and legumes if there are aphids around.
What beautiful beetles!
I don’t deliberately overlook beetles, but I also don’t seek them out either… I had no idea there were so many - My own stats don’t reflect that. Although the Asian Lady Beetle is my number one insect, I only have 36 species of beetles compared to 89 species of Lepidoptera.
Some of this might be because I can’t identify… but mostly I think I’m missing them.
I’ll have to start looking for them better.
I think this is a wonderful idea! Because they are such a diverse group with many different life histories, there are likely many methods to finding and observing beetles. My suggestion is to look at similar methodologies for other taxa and adapt them for your purposes.
I know many beetle species can be attracted with UV lights at night, similar to moths. There has been some discussion about the ethics of this, including here on the iNatForum (see here and here).
Additionally, many beetles can be found under rocks and logs, similar to salamanders. Herpetological societies often have ethical guidelines that could easily be adapted for your needs (see here).
Thank you, very useful. I will pass to on beetle groups, and beetle fans in India.
Considering that the project wants to focus on novice natural historians we will probably not encourage them to collect. Also there is a legal issue with specimen collection in India and also a history of collector abuse.
I am mostly interested in botany, but I love arthropods as well and recently weevils started to fascinate me, there are lots and lots of them and I find a new species for me pretty often! I like the fact that most weevils feed on a specific plant or plant family. Several weevils I’ve found have only been observed very few times on iNaturalist before me (about 4 or 5 observations). So cool!