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Coleoptera, the beetles, account for nearly 25% of all known animal species, and nearly 18% of all described species of life on the planet. Their species richness is equal to the number of all plant species in the world and six times the number of all vertebrate species. They are found almost everywhere, yet many minute or cryptic species go virtually un-noticed even by trained naturalists. Little wonder, then, that such a dominant group might pass through time relatively unknown to most naturalists, hobbyists, and even entomologists; even an elementary comprehension of the beetle fauna of our own region has not been attempted. A single, fragmentary and incomplete list of beetle species was published for Wisconsin in the late 1800’s; the last three words of the final entry merely say, “to be continued.” The present, preliminary, survey chronicles nothing more than a benchmark, a definitive starting point from which to build. For we cannot hope to manage, or even fully appreciate, a community or ecosystem when we do not even know the magnitude or identity of the most species-rich components. Of 103 beetle families known or presumed to inhabit Wisconsin, this survey establishes the presence of 51 families. The annotated list documents approximately 127 species as well as 16 new county records and one new state record.

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