The ground beetles in the genera Amara and Curtonotus have always been among my favourite beetles. In the Breckland, where I cut my beetling teeth, they are a highly diverse group. Along with the other seed-eating carabids (e.g. Harpalus and Ophonus), they are the ‘arable weeds’ of the beetle world, turning up in places where there is soil disturbance, bare ground and lots of ruderal plants producing lots of seeds. Several of the 32 species occurring in Britain and Ireland are rare.
Many coleopterists have struggled to identify these beetles. Even the name Amara is reputedly derived from the Latin word for bitter (amarus) in reference to the bitter experience of trying to identify them! I have now produced a detailed identification guide with photos of all but one of the species which I hope will sweeten the experience.
Download here (version 3.1, 16th October 2016): Identification guide to the Amara and Curtonotus (Carabidae) of Britain and Ireland.
The guide also introduces new English names for all the species as Sunshiners, Moonshiners and Stem-climbers.