Using This Site
While this site is about all kinds of beetles that might be found in the U.K. it has been constructed in a more or less random way; featuring those groups of beetles or species that take our fancy at the time of writing. Initially there was absolutely no structure to what we were doing but as the ‘pages’ piled up and began to form a coherent series this allowed us to cover certain groups more thoroughly, this is far from being finished and so gaps appear everywhere, but we write as we are motivated and so certain groups will always be covered better than others. It seemed sensible to write a page for each family and so this is how we started but, determined to feature the U.K. groups in relation to the wider world fauna, this might have been a necessary mistake as we have since learned that the concept of the family is beginning to look a little shaky, and that the groups within families are not necessarily going to stay where they are, especially since people have begun to mess around with DNA and suchlike. But we have to start somewhere and so the family group, rightly or wrongly, is where we begin. The fact that we are aware of the obsolescence of some of these groups does not help; the knowledge that what we write is soon going to be revised and in some cases probably already has, does not help either but this is how things are done and, writing on a website that can be easily updated, we can modify groups as we need to. A list of the U.K. families is provided and this gives a picture of typical species, from here the family page gives reliable pictures of as many species as we can get hold of. These family pages were intended to have a uniform structure and a word limit but that idea did not last very long as we write as we are motivated but we have kept certain features as standard; the bold text at the top of each page is intended to give an idea of how likely the group is to be encountered in the wild, and the box at the top right of each family page is intended to give some outline of the extent and classification of the U.K. species. Headings are then rather random; each family is dealt with in much the same way but the layout varies because e.g. a monotypic family will be
TROGIDAE was the first page made for the site.
easier to deal with than one containing thousands of species, or because sometimes a large genus like Stenus is easier to deal with than a small one like Carabus. Keys to certain groups have generally been dumped into a separate section under the identification heading in the articles section because they often, or usually, make the family pages too cumbersome, and also because they may then be accessed from multiple pages more easily. The library section is generally isolated from the rest of the site as referring to the various works from the family pages etc. involves a ridiculous and rather monotonously repeated set of links. We may start adding links to this at a later date but for now this section is divided according to various groups covered by the works listed and so should be mostly obvious. An index to the species we feature is given and the pages can be accessed from this, other stuff such as higher order groups or topics about beetles can, we hope, be easily found by clicking on the links at the top or the left-hand side of the pages. From our point of view, and with our favourite and different groups, it is difficult to see whether the site is balanced in the material we feature; we try to give an even coverage to all the groups but we probably fail dismally, on the other hand we are pleased with what we have featured and have lots of stuff waiting to add, and we would welcome ideas about what to feature because this would take the onus away from us and provide suggestions we might never have considered. Species pages present a view of the accepted classification (we hope), a brief summary of the distribution, biology and a description that, along with the specimens featured, will allow a reliable identification to be made. If all goes well it should be possible to expand some of the images by clicking on them. Where possible, and when we are confident of the species we feature, a picture of the larva is given, this aspect of the subject will often be mentioned in the various species or family texts and it is one we intend to expand upon.