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Calosoma sycophanta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Carabidae
Subfamily: Carabinae
Genus: Calosoma
Weber, 1801
Calosoma planicolle
Calosoma senegalense
Calosoma scrutator by Alejandro Santillana "Insects Unlocked" Project, University of Texas at Austin

Calosoma is a genus of large ground beetles that occur primarily throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and are referred to as caterpillar hunters or searchers. Many of the 167 species are largely or entirely black, but some have bright metallic coloration. They produce a foul-smelling spray from glands near the tip of the abdomen. They are recognizable due to their large thorax, which is almost the size of their abdomen and much wider than their head.[1]

In 1905, Calosoma sycophanta was imported to New England for control of the gypsy moth. The species is a voracious consumer of caterpillars during both its larval stage and as an adult, as are other species in the genus. For this reason, they are generally considered beneficial insects. Several species of this beetle, most notably the black calosoma (Calosoma semilaeve) are especially common in the California area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Powell & Hogue (1979), California Insects. p. 262.

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