Ground beetles are among the most species-rich, popular, beautiful, and best-studied insects in the world, and Belgium is no exception when it comes to that. For example, the collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) teach us that between 1850 and 1950, the golden ground beetle (Carabus auratus) was one of the most common and collected Carabus species. Nowadays, things have taken a turn for the worse. Even though many Carabus species remain present in Belgium, today most of them have become highly endangered. Some Carabus species balance on the brink of becoming extinct. This is precisely why it is so important to collect all possible information regarding their distribution, ecology, and habitat preference, and to inform the general public of it. This book is fitted for that exact purpose, and it provides the information we need to recognize the Belgian species in the field.
Furthermore, it is indispensable to document and convey the essential and specific Carabus habitat requirements to the people responsible for nature conservation and habitat management. In particular, specific microclimatic conditions, rather than the exact composition of the vegetation, serve as key signals in their habitat preference. After all, Carabus species and, by extension, ground beetles in general, are often considered to be very suitable ecological indicator species; they can be sampled in a standardized way and provide us with a great deal of detailed information regarding the actual and historical condition of the examined sites.
This publication will certainly motivate many people to continue documenting this spectacular group of ground beetles. Let's all hope it can also contribute to even better protection and preservation of these special insects and the places they inhabit. What started years ago as a hobby of the author has grown into a life’s work. This book is a reference for anyone who wants to understand everything there is to know about Carabus beetles in Belgium.