Over 40 years in development, the groundbreaking RES Handbook to Coleoptera larvae enables identification of beetle larvae to at least family level.
The preliminary key helps distinguish beetle larvae from other immature insects. This leads to the main key, to the 103 families and many of the subfamilies. Several of the larger families key out in more than one place. The second half of the Handbook is a systematic survey of the biology of each family. It includes colour photographs of beetle larvae, many taken from the van Emden collection.
Most beetles spend the majority of their lives as larvae. Arguably it is at this larval stage where beetles make their greatest ecological impact, since larvae are primarily occupied with feeding. Despite the importance of the three immature life-stages, most identification guides only cover the adults. For more than 100 genera in Britain, the larvae stages are still effectively unknown. Up to now the only way to identify many specimens has been to rear the larvae to adults.
Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects is a series of books produced by the Royal Entomological Society (RES). The Handbooks is provide illustrated identification keys to the insects of Britain, together with concise morphological, biological and distributional information. The series also includes several Check Lists of British Insects. All books contain line drawings, with the most recent featuring colour photographs. These books are suitable for experienced users. Many out-of-print Handbooks are now available for free download.
RES Handbook vol 4 part 1a