Calosoma sycophanta

Geographic Range

The species Calosoma sycophanta originated in central Europe and Asia. From there it was collected and released in the United States. It's current range extends from southern Maine and all New England states south into Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia. C. sycophanta's geographic region also expands past the northern border of the United States and inhabits the southern part of Canada. (Klots and Klots, 1959; Schaefer, et al., Jul 1999; White, 1983)


Adults are predominantly found under rocks, logs, leaves, bark, decomposing wood and other debris on the ground. They are also found in freshly harvested grain, as well as in homes if food becomes scarce or outside moisture conditions are unfavorable. (Borron and White, 1970; White, 1983)

Physical Description

The length of C. sycophanta ranges from 25 to 30 mm. The head of this species is narrower than the pronotum -which is the upper sclerite of the prothorax of adult Coleoptera that tightly encloses the fore part of the body. The 11 segmented antennae are slender, and are inserted between the bases of the mandibles and the eyes. There are six abdominal sternites present. The legs of C. sycophanta are slim and modified for running. This beetle also possesses sharp tarsal claws that facilitate crawling under stones, logs, bark, and debris. The tarsi have five segments each. Adult C. sycophanta are a brilliant golden green color with a dark blue thorax. Larvae are a polished black with brown markings on the underside. They also possess sharp projecting mandibles and a pair of bristly appendages at the hind end of the body. (Headstrom, 1977; Klots and Klots, 1959)

  • Range length
    25 to 30 mm
    0.98 to 1.18 in


The beetle goes through egg, larval, and pupal stages of development before reaching adulthood. The eggs of C. sycophanta are laid in the soil. After the eggs hatch, the larva mature within two to three weeks, during which they feed underground and then pupate and metamorphosis. After emerging as an adult, the beetle remains in the pupal cell, where it hibernates until the following spring; older adults also enter the soil to hibernate. ("Virginia Cooperative Extension - Ground Beetle", August 1996; Swan and Papp, 1972)


Calosoma sycophanta females lay eggs in the spring. ("Virginia Cooperative Extension - Ground Beetle", August 1996; Swan and Papp, 1972)

  • Breeding season

After eggs are laid by the female, there is no further parental investment.

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning


These beetles have a lifespan of two to four years. (Klots and Klots, 1959; Swan and Papp, 1972)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    2 to 4 years


Adult Calosoma sycophanta are nocturnal, and hide under logs, rocks, or in soil crevices during the day. Like many insects they will scamper rapidly when disturbed. Although they are able to fly, they rarely do. C. sycophanta are also incredibly attracted to light and are known to fly towards light at night. C. sycophanta are also one of the few known beetles to regularly climb plants to catch prey. (Klots and Klots, 1959; Road, 1991)

Food Habits

Calosoma sycophanta is a predator, feeding on tent caterpillars, gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars and pupae, cankerworms, cutworms, and other forest caterpillars. Members of the Calosoma genus are often referred to as "caterpillar hunters." The larvae, like the adults, also feed on pupae and caterpillars. Calosoma sycophanta are one of the only known ground beetles to regularly climb plants to forage. Larvae also climb trees in search of prey, requiring more food than do adults. An individual larva feeds day and night, consuming 50 caterpillars during its two-week developmental period. A single adult will eat several hundred caterpillars during its lifetime. (Klots and Klots, 1959; Linsenmaier, 1972; Swan and Papp, 1972)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The presence of Calosoma sycophanta can help regulate outbreaks of gypsy moths by consuming gypsy moth larvae. Gypsy moths can be devestating to trees as their larvae consume huge amounts of plant material every year. (Mahr, 2001)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Calosoma sycophanta does not have a negative economic influence on humans.

Conservation Status

Calosoma sycophanta has no special status.

Other Comments

Calosoma sycophanta was introduced to the United States in 1906 from Europe. This beetle was intentionally released near Boston, MA, in order to control outbreaks of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar -also introduced from Europe. (Klots and Klots, 1959)


Sara Diamond (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Harvey Liu (author), Southwestern University, Stephanie Fabritius (editor), Southwestern University.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


August 1996. "Virginia Cooperative Extension - Ground Beetle" (On-line). Accessed February 15, 2001 at

Borron, D., R. White. 1970. A Field Guide to Insects American North of Mexico. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Headstrom, R. 1977. The Beetles of America. London: A. S. Barnes.

Klots, A., E. Klots. 1959. Living insects of the World. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc.

Linsenmaier, W. 1972. Insects of the World. Newyork: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Mahr, S. 2001. "Know Your Friends: Ground Beetles" (On-line). Accessed February 15, 2001 at

Road, K. 1991. "Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Entomology" (On-line). Accessed February 15, 2001 at

Schaefer, P., R. Fuester, P. Tayler, S. Barth, E. Simons,. Jul 1999. Current Distribution and Historical Range Expansion of Calosoma Sycophanta (L.)(Coleoptera: Carabidae) in North America. Journal of Entomological Science [J. Entomol. Sci.], vol. 34, no.3: 339-362.

Swan, L., C. Papp. 1972. The Common Insects of North America. New York: Harper and Row.

White, R. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beatles of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.