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any member of the insect order Coleoptera, consisting of the beetles and weevils. It is the largest order of insects, representing about 40 percent of the known insect species. Among the over 350,000 species of Coleoptera are many of the largest and most conspicuous insects, some of which also have brilliant metallic colours, showy patterns, or striking form. Beetles can usually be recognized by their two pairs of wings; the front pair is modified into horny covers (elytra) that hide the rear pair and most of the abdomen and usually meet down the back in a straight line. Coleoptera occur in nearly all climates. They may be divided into four groups: the first three, the Archostemata, the Adephaga, and the Myxophaga, contain relatively few families; the majority of beetles are placed in the fourth group, the Polyphaga.