Beetle week and Beetle day - Need Advice and Tips for Beetle watching


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.

Add to that this recent article ‘Generally ignored’ species face twice the extinction threat, warns study

Wildlife with little data faces double the risk of dying out – which may mean many more species are endangered than previously thought


Globally among the Winged and Once-winged Insects Subclass Pterygota the top 3 orders with the largest number of observations are

The difference between Butterflies & Moths, and the Beetle order is quite revealing.

as @susanhewitt says here The Most Interesting Things about Arthropods!:

in India the situation is different

Beetles are the third most observed Order in the subclass, while butterflies & moths observations are simply mind boggling in relative numbers.

Rank Insect Orders India % of Order to Subclass in India world % of Observations to the world
1 Butterflies and Moths Order Lepidoptera 356452 62.45% 12206044 2.92%
2 Dragonflies and Damselflies Order Odonata 45527 7.98% 1938452 2.35%
3 Beetles Order Coleoptera 35794 6.27% 3939992 0.91%
4 True Bugs, Hoppers, Aphids, and Allies Order Hemiptera 34869 6.11% 2610628 1.34%
5 Ants, Bees, Wasps, and Sawflies Order Hymenoptera 33660 5.90% 3659404 0.92%

India has only a fraction of global observations, hopefully as more people have access to tools and opportunities that will change.

Proposed Beetle Mania week and Beetle day (for India)

As a sub event of India’s Nature - Monsoon Beauty 2022 we are planning to have a beetle week and beetle day


  • Beetle Mania Week Monday 22nd August to Sunday 28th August 2022
  • Beetle Day Sunday 28th August 2022

We hope to also organise an beetle id-a-thon during this period

Currently this is Beetle in India

Suggestions and Advice required for

  1. How to observe beetles - methods, etc that can be shared
  2. Any decent publicly available literature, posters etc that could be shared
  3. Anything other advice the community things would be useful
  4. Any fun stuff - T shirt designs, souvenirs, puns, cartoons, jokes etc that are relevant for Beetle Mania are also welcome



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.

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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.

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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 for these, I think it is good to keep being reminded of these ethics.

Adding to the staggering beetle statistics, there are more described species of beetles than plants. They are also described at a much higher rate

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Now you got me curious about my own insect observations. Do I show the same bias? Answer: yes. Of my 56 observations that I am sure are insects, I have:

  • 23 Butterflies and Moths Order Lepidoptera
  • 11 Flies Order Diptera (of which 3 are gall-forming species)
  • 6 Ants, Wasps, Bees, and Sawflies Order Hymenoptera (of which again 3 are gall-forming species)
  • 4 Beetles Order Coleoptera
  • 3 Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids Order Orthoptera
  • 3 Mantids Order Mantodea
  • 3 True Bugs, Hoppers, Aphids, and Allies Order Hemiptera
  • 2 Dragonflies and Damselflies Order Odonata
  • 1 Antlions, Lacewings, and Allies Order Neuroptera.

So yes, I have observed twice as many butterflies and moths as the next most often-observed order, and the last 7 orders together (which include beetles) only just equal butterflies and moths.

If you have flowers that emit a musky or rotten scent, these may be pollinated by beetles; where there are cattle, you may find dung beetles; and herbivorous beetles can be found at their host plants.

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Interesting, will try and add this to the “how to”

This looks very useful:

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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.

The project is now active on Inaturalist - India’s Nature : Beetle Mania 2022

Yes, I was thinking you could use the techniques for the “catch” part of “catch-and-release.” By all means, dangle the possibility of legal consequences to discourage killing/collection of rarities.

Your biggest challenges will be the need for observers to take ID-quality photos and finding people who can ID the beetles. Good Luck!

PS: I just googled “baiting for beetles” and discovered that " Various kinds of dung, carrion, soft fungi, etc. may be used."

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we are going to put a small guide on these methods

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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!

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I think the key is to “look”

Arthropods get missed because we aren’t even looking for them.

In the recent times when I take people out for walks I get them to watch a bush or a plant for a while and sure enough we start observing things that we would normally miss.

I also like weevils, but am still to upload my few weevil observations.

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Beetle Mania 2022 ((India) event is now fully active
Below is the poster

A Talk on beetles is scheduled for 16:00 to 17:00 hrs IST on Sunday the 21st of August 2022, will post the link here for any one interested, and a recording too will be shared.

We are hoping to come out with a 2 -3 pager on Beetles, how to watch, where to see them , basic morphology and some more interesting facts.



The poster’s reference to “Beetles Fans” makes me wonder if there are beetle species named after George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr.


Aah , you caught that, was hoping soon :sweat_smile:

Good point , we do need to find out

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Don’t know about their names, but a google search came up with this species in the Netherlands. :laughing: