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(subclass Pterygota, order Coleoptera)

Family of hard, shiny beetles, 1–6 mm long, with a convex ventral surface. They are generally black or metallic in colour. The last two abdominal segments are exposed. The antennae are clubbed and elbowed. The tibiae are expanded and toothed. When the beetles are disturbed, the legs and antennae are withdrawn into grooves on the under-side. Adults and larvae live in dung and carrion, where they feed on insect larvae. Some species live in birds’ nests, while others are associated with the nests of ants and termites. There are 2500 species.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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