The family Scarabaeidae has over 30,000 species worldwide and account for nearly 10% of all known beetles.
About a quarter of all known animal species are beetles and the scarab beetles are one of the most diverse families. Because there are so many, there has been much debate and conflicting ideas surrounding the best way to classify the scarab beetles.
During the Jurassic period 200 million years ago, flowering plants evolved and beetle species branched off to specialise in feeding on them. Scarab beetles emerged around 145 million years ago, at the start of the Cretaceous period. This was when New Zealand split from Australia and South America drifted away from Antarctica.
Scarabs found themselves on all the main continents and the isolated populations continued to diversify to fill different niches.
The reason beetles are so successful is because of their historically low extinction rate. They are a really hardy species with the ability to change and adapt to new environments and this is evident in the wide range of habitats all over the world in which they can be found.