Of the nearly 3,000 known species of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) that inhabit North America, seven of them are members of the genus Scarites. These insects can be found in lawns, gardens, and fields throughout the spring and summer. They are relatively large and grow to between 5/8″ (16 mm) and 1-1/8″ (30 mm) in length, depending on the species. The particular individual I found the other day was right around 3/4″ (19 mm).
In addition to their size these insects also feature relatively large mandibles. They use these formidable mouthparts to grab and consume the insects they prey upon.
Although these beetles are pretty common they are not seen very often. They do their hunting at night and seek shelter in the shadows during the day. It’s usually only when they are disturbed that they run into the open seeking new cover. This individual was just sort of standing around when I found it, and I suspected it was dying. Sure enough, the following day I found that it had been picked apart by some unknown predator or scavenger.