There are more kinds of beetles than of any other sort of animal--over a quarter million named so far--and in fact, say the authors, one out of every four species of animal known is a type of beetle. With Patent's usual attention to evolutionary considerations, the authors introduce beetles in general--their feeding and digestion, wings and flight, reproduction, adaptation to water and desert environments--and then they examine particular features and habits of some of the more common or interesting species. Regarding the dung beetle ( of which there are thousands of species), we learn that some form long-lasting pairs and remain with their developing offspring until the young emerge as adult beetles--and we hear of the problems that attended their importation to Australia to handle the cow pie problem. Fireflies are beetles too, and the authors discuss their flashing with Patent's characteristic depth and skilled direction: ""What is the advantage of flashing in unison with other males?"" With a closing section on raising beetles, a sharp and thoroughgoing introduction.