Identify beetles by their shells. While it is relatively easy to identify beetles as a species, it is harder to tell the difference between individual types of beetles. Each is different in color, shape and size, and some types have varying food and living requirements.
Identifying individual beetles can be difficult, as there are many types from which to choose. To choose correctly, pay attention to the beetle's preferred environment and food choices. Additionally, pay attention to the beetle's quirks. Some types of beetles click when stranded on their backs or emit a strong smell when threatened or killed. Others are associated with a particular habitat, such as wood flooring.
Beetles are the largest order in the animal kingdom, with nearly 25,000 types of beetles in North America alone. Worldwide, there are more than 350,000 types. Each type bears the same hard shell exterior, but the color, shape and size may differ.
Beetles are divided into two major groups: small and large. Small beetles are less than 1/4 inch and usually dark in color, but they often bear bright green or yellow markings. Large beetles are bigger than 3/4 inches and typically dark brown or black. They possess long antennae.