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7 Common Beetles in Florida (Pictures)

Florida is home to upwards of 168 species of beetles. These beetles are widespread across the state, and all serve their ecosystem in different ways. This article will go through seven of the most commonly seen beetle species in the state. While the following beetles all prefer slightly different landscapes, a few may wander into your garden or even onto your patio.

Photo collage beetles in Florida

7 common beetles in Florida

1. American Carrion Beetle

American carrion beetle
American carrion beetle | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Necrophila americana

This beetle is well known in Florida for its integral role in maintaining the ecosystem. This species feeds on decaying matter which helps spread resources and revitalizes the environment.

The word “carrion” describes dead or decaying animals since that’s what the beetle most commonly will eat. Without this species, their native land would have a much harder time decomposing any dead organic matter.

The American carrion beetle effectively reduces the amount of time decaying matter is present in the ecosystem, reducing odor from dead animals. You’ll easily recognize this beetle by its distinct markings.

The hind end of the beetle is black, and the midsection is white with a large black spot, followed by a black head and legs. The area near the head, the pronotum, is yellow.

You’re most likely to find this species in humid areas such as woodlands and forests where there’s a higher chance of naturally dying and decaying animals.

2. American Oil Beetle

American oil beetle
American oil beetle on a tree branch | image by Kerry Wixted via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Meloe americanus

Identifying and steering clear of this beetle can benefit your health as this species can irritate human skin. Since this beetle is part of the blister beetle family, it can easily irritate the skin when threatened and give off a chemical defense. This yellow chemical can burn, resulting in redness, irritation, and blistering.

The beetle most often will release this chemical when it’s squeezed or picked up. So as long as you leave this species alone when you see it, you’ll be fine. To identify this beetle, look for a primarily black beetle with a blue sheen.

The hind end of the beetle is relatively large and pinches off to a smaller-sized head. These beetles are most commonly spotted in grass or on sidewalks and patios. Since they tend to stay near homes during the springtime, be aware of them if you have children apt to pick a beetle up.

3. Andrew’s Snail-eating Beetle

Andrew’s snail-eating beetle
Andrew’s snail eating-beetle on ground | image by evangrimes via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0

Scientific name: Scaphinotus andrewsii

This beetle species is mostly ground-dwelling and relatively large. They have an oval rear end that makes up most of the mass of the beetle.

This back end then constricts slightly into the midsection of the beetle, which attaches to the head. The head and legs of the beetle are generally black; however, the body can be striking.

This beetle has jewel-like coloration on its body, which can range in purple and blue tones. Because of their color, it’s much easier to spot these beetles when it’s sunny. The reflection of the sun off of their back makes them shine, allowing them to stand out from the foliage they’re walking in.

4. Ant-like Longhorn Beetle

Ant-like longhorn beetle
Ant-like longhorn beetle | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Cyrtophorus verrucosus

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The ant-like longhorn beetle is astutely named for its look-alike appearance to an ant. Although this beetle can be found in different colors, it all blends in with the ant species in Florida. The main distinguisher between these beetles and ants is their long antenna coming out of both sides of the face.

If you can get a closer look at this species, you’ll notice the physiological differences between them and ants. This beetle has a darker head and rear end with a red to brown midsection; however, no constriction separates these body parts into different segments as it does in ants.

This is the best way to identify the species since they have similar behaviors to ants. You’re most likely to find this beetle walking on leaves of plants and flowers.

However, this beetle can fly, which ants cannot. When looking for this beetle, check flowers that have an abundance of nectar and pollen. Additionally, you may be able to find larvae on rotting wood.

5. Antelope Beetle

Antelope beetle
Antelope beetle on wood | image by raffib128 via iNaturalist

Scientific name: Dorcus parallelus

The antelope beetle is quite boxy in appearance and is most commonly found in and around forested landscapes. They’re very recognizable because they’re larger than many other beetle species in Florida, and they have pincers coming out of their jaw. This can make the insect look intimidating; however, it’s harmless.

The antelope beetle has a squared-off head that’s smooth-looking. The beetle’s body is dimpled and can often look as though it has lines going down its back. This texture helps the beetle to blend in with bark and foliage.

6. Ashy Gray Lady Beetle

Ashy gray lady beetle
Ashy gray lady beetle on a leaf | image by Gene H via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific name: Olla v-nigrim

This beetle is ideal for managing pests in gardens and field crops. Since the larvae cannot fly, they crawl over plants in search of smaller insects to eat. These black larvae have two yellow spots on each side of their back and are incredibly useful for those looking to grow flowers or crops to sell.

The ashy gray lady beetle is round and has a high dome on its back. You’ll most easily recognize this beetle due to its glossy sheen.

The appearance of this beetle is visually appealing, and because of that, it’s appreciated around Florida. This is a reasonably common beetle to find around the state in more dense gardens and fields where larvae may be present.

7. Asian Multi-Colored Lady Beetle

Asian multi-colored lady beetle
Asian multi-colored lady beetle | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Harmonia axyridis

Commonly known as a ladybug, very few are aware that these insects are, in fact, beetles. However, the Asian multicolored lady beetle is not the native lady beetle that we’re most used to seeing.

This beetle will destroy some of your favorite garden flowers, like roses and hibiscus. They’re also known to get inside and gather in homes before winter hits to stay warm.

This invasive species has slowly been pushing native lady beetles out of North America since the 1970s when they first came onto the continent. Their coloration can range from red to a browner tone and even into the orange spectrum.

You can set them apart from native lady beetles by looking for the white coloration on their head. Their black spots can vary between individuals and therefore is not the best measure for telling the two species apart.

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If you’re having trouble with these beetles eating through your garden, the best thing to introduce is praying mantis eggs. The mantis is a natural predator of the lady beetle and will keep the population controlled.

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