The most common beetles in compost are the rove beetle, ground beetle and feather-winged beetle. Feather-winged beetles feed on fungal spores, while the larger rove and ground beetles prey on other insects, worms, snails, slugs and other small animals.
Rove beetles are slender, elongate beetles with wing covers (elytra) that are much shorter than the abdomen; over half of the top surface of the abdomen is exposed.
Most rove beetles are black or brown. One species has gray markings on the wings and abdomen. Most rove beetles are medium sized beetles, a few species are up to 1 inch long. Rove beetles are active fliers or runners. When they run they often raise the tip of the abdomen.
Rove beetles don't sting, but can give a painful bite. They are found in or near decaying organic matter and feed on other insects such as fly maggots. In New Zealand these insects, commonly called the Devil's Coach-horse, predate upon flatworms and slugs. They can be very numerous in compost and vermicompost.
Rove Beetles [of Florida], University of Florida, Department of Entomology and Nematology
BEETLES Colorado State University http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/glide/biotrackcoleoptera.html
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