Hardly any habitat in Germany is not inhabited by beetles. They represent the largest and most species-rich order within the insects. In Germany alone there are around 7000 beetle species. They live on the ground, in the water or just look fascinating. They differ in body shape and coloring.

Blattkäfer (Chrysomelidae)

Leaf beetles are one of the most species-rich families in the animal kingdom. They are related to the longhorn and weevil beetles and are pure herbivores. They all have wings. Many have specialized in a few or only a certain forage plant. Leaf beetles are between one and eighteen millimeters in size.

They are colorful or have a metallic sheen, are oval and slightly curved. The pronotum is rarely arched. On the rounded head there are short antennae that are shorter than the body. Examples of leaf beetles are the Colorado potato beetle, tortoiseshell beetle, lily beetle, spotted willow leaf beetle, alder leaf beetle, ant leaf beetle or common asparagus beetle.

Bockkäfer (Cerambycidae)

Most of these beetles are among the most beautiful beetles in Germany due to their body shape, coloration or pattern of the elytra.

  • Longhorn beetles often dazzlingly colorful
  • Exceptionally long antennae
  • In some five times the body length, for example in the carpenter’s buck
  • Strong antennae, relatively small eyes
  • Mostly a stretched physique
  • Males are usually larger, some females are too
  • The pronotum of some longhorn beetles has spines
  • Feed on pollen and tree sap
  • The gold-haired long-necked goat, the black-margined narrow-buck and the variable earthbuck are native
Note: Some longhorn beetles can make noises by nodding movements of the front part of their body to scare off potential predators, such as the longhorn beetle.

Bark beetle (Scolytinae)

Bark beetles are part of the natural environment of a forest. However, under unfavorable conditions, mass occurrences can occur. While some attack a few or just a single host tree species, others have a wide range of tree species. These beetle species are black or brown and up to twelve millimeters long. They mainly colonize damaged or dead deciduous or coniferous trees.

Some are considered to be particularly dangerous forest pests that also infest healthy trees. A distinction is made between bark and wood breeding beetle species. The most important representatives of the bark breeders are book printers, copper engravers, forest gardeners and the large carrion bark beetle. One wood-breeding species is the striped timber bark beetle ‘Lineatus’.

Breitrüssler (Anthribidae)

  • Usually broad, short, flattened and trunk-like elongated head
  • Stand out due to their good camouflage
  • Dyes and patterns, adapted to the respective substrates
  • Usually the deadwood
  • Weevils are small to medium-sized
  • Matt black with a textured finish
  • Feelers up to 12 mm long
  • Elytra irregularly ribbed and flattened above
  • Wear bright rows of dots
  • Beetles on the move in forests from March to September
  • Mainly in May
  • Beetles feed on fungal networks
  • Larvae feed on scale insect eggs
  • Native species, mottled bark beetle and lesser forest gardener

Buntkäfer (Cleridae)

Other representatives of native beetle species are the spotted beetles. They are small to medium in size, with an elongated, intractable body. The elytra are regularly dotted and usually drawn conspicuously. Pronotum and head are similar in width. The head is tilted down.

Their eyes are so-called compound eyes. Beetles live on the bark of trees or flowers. Most are predatory. In Germany, for example, one finds the red-legged ham beetle, which is considered a food pest, the common bee beetle, whose larvae develop in hives of honey bees and feed on their supplies, and the ant beetle, which preys on bark beetles.

Laufkäfer (Carabidae)

As the name suggests, ground beetles are predominantly walking beetle species that have lost their ability to fly in the course of their evolutionary history.

  • Most species are crepuscular
  • Hide under rocks during the day
  • Grow up to 85mm long
  • Mostly land dwellers, few hunt in the water
  • Elongated head and eleven-membered, thread-like antennae
  • Conspicuous elytra structure with bumps, grooves and indentations
  • Live mainly in moist biotopes, under stones or in the ground
  • Feed on earthworms and insects

The largest domestic ground beetle is the leather ground beetle, which is under nature protection. The dark blue ground beetle is also endangered. The blue-violet ground beetle impresses with its bright blue coloring and the multicolored high-speed beetle with its eye-catching markings.

Tip: ground beetles are the most species-rich extended family. Over 550 species live in Germany alone.

Marienkäfer (Coccinellidae)

When you think of the ladybug, you immediately think of the red lucky charm with the black dots. But not every ladybug is red. There are yellow and orange ones with black spots, as well as black ones with yellow or reddish spots (kidney-spotted spherical ladybug), and even light brown-reddish beetles with white spots (light ladybug). Exactly these points are typical for all ladybird species and exist in different numbers depending on the species. This is also the case with the two-spot, ten-spot and fourteen-spot ladybirds, as well as the bryony and round-spotted scale ladybirds.

Black or dark beetle (Tenebrionidae)

Plant beetles are medium-sized, elongated-oval beetles. They can be found on various trees, fungus-infested branches and flowers. They feed on plant and animal remains and their larvae mainly on dry plant remains. They have large eyes and longitudinal grooves on the elytra. Your tentacles are long and eleven-membered.

Some of these beetles are nocturnal, others seek out the sun and warmth. They live on flowers, trees, under loose bark and in wood infested with fungi. Of the species occurring in Germany, the sulfur beetle and the matt black plant beetle are particularly noteworthy.

Prachtkafer (Buprestidae)

  • Mostly colorful, shiny metallic, green, blue, coppery or red
  • Can grow up to 80mm long
  • Antennae short and squat
  • Comparatively large eyes
  • Are warmth-loving, benefit from dry summers
  • Heat and drought accelerate the development of the beetles
  • Only infest previously damaged or severely weakened trees

Jewel beetles feed on leaves, needles, flower petals and pollen. Native representatives include the slender, spotted poplar jewel beetle and the glossy jewel beetle, which is most active in full sun.

Note: After dry summers, beech and pine jewel beetles in particular, as well as the two-spot oak jewel beetle, occur more frequently.

Rindenkäfer (Colydiinae)

Colydiidae is small to medium-sized (1.3-7.0 mm), mostly elongated with variable coloring and markings. They feed on insects, rotting wood or fungi. Native are the black-red bark beetle (Bitoma crenata) and the highly endangered sap beetle (Colydium elongatum).

The black-red bark beetle is up to 3.5 mm long, its veinless elytra have a red-black cross pattern. It lives under the bark of deciduous trees and feeds on insects. The thread sap beetle is very narrow and up to seven millimeters long. The head is about as long as it is wide. The elytra are longitudinally ribbed. It inhabits deciduous and coniferous wood, especially oaks, and feeds on core and bark beetles.

Weevil (Curculionidae)

Weevils are a very diverse family. They feed on plants. In doing so, they can cause great damage. They grow up to 20 mm. The most distinctive feature is their long proboscis, which distinguishes them from other beetle species and with which they tap into the plants. Weevils are the most species-rich beetle family. The best-known local representative is the vine weevil . In addition, you can find the bright red hazel leaf roller and the squat, metallically shiny red-brown apple fruit weevil.

Note: Most weevils specialize in just one or more specific plants.


These beetles, which are no more than five millimeters in size, are characterized by a short, squat body shape and long, strong legs. Her abdomen is uncovered. The elytra have a metallic sheen due to their very fine hairs. They are gray-brown-black with white markings. The small head is elongated like a trunk and the eyes protrude laterally. The often sawn antennae are only weakly developed. In this country one finds the field beetle, which infests not only field beans but also peas and table beans, as well as the pea and vetch seed beetle.

Sandlaufkäfer (Cicindelinae)

The sun-loving tiger beetles are good flyers and fast runners. They have very slender, ant-like, metallic green to brownish shimmering bodies. Their large compound eyes protrude from the sides of their heads. Running fast, they capture small insects and spiders. Tiger beetles are protected by law. Native species are, for example, the metallic green, rarely bluish to brownish field tiger beetle and the brownish dune tiger beetle with three whitish “bands” (drawing) on ​​the elytra.

Schroeder (Lucanidae)

The Schröter family includes medium-sized to very large beetles. They are elongated, mostly slightly flattened, from brick-red to reddish-brown to black in colour. Some species are even multicolored. The best known and largest is undoubtedly the stag beetle with its bizarrely enlarged upper jaw (“antler”). It is chestnut brown, up to 90 mm long and is now very rare. Not all species are equipped with such impressive “antlers” as the dark brown to black barbed shad or the glossy black horned shad.

Spitzmausrüssler (Apioninae)

  • Black weevils are small to very small
  • Body length of up to four millimeters
  • Exclusively herbivores
  • Pear-shaped, shrew-like body shape
  • Proboscis very long, narrow, cylindrical and often curved
  • Antennae and compound eyes sit on the side of the proboscis
  • Compound eyes on the sides of the proboscis
  • Eyes flat to hemispherical, arched forward
  • Shrew weevil mostly black
  • Some species with blue, metallic shiny elytra
  • Others completely metallic blue or purple
Note: Because these bugs feed on crops, they are considered agricultural pests. Native species are, for example, the blood-red dock weevil, the mennig red weevil, the birch weevil and the broom weevil.

Soldier beetles (Cantharidae)

In contrast to other beetle species, soft beetles do not have a hard chitinous shell. They are soft-skinned, mostly colorful, and have filiform antennae. Many of them have a striking coloring and various markings on the pronotum. The beetles, which can be up to 18 mm in size, can be observed on blossoms, especially umbrella blossoms, and on low vegetation in early summer and summer. In Germany, for example, there is the soldier beetle and other species for which there is no German name, such as Cantharis pallida, C. nigricans or C. pellucida.

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