There are so many species of beetle that you can find new ones pretty much without trying. According to new research, that may be because beetle lineages hardly ever go extinct.

We've talked about the beetle's prolific speciation before:

There's an old story that gets tossed around about evolutionary biologist J.B. Haldane on the origin of what would become one of his favorite phrases. Someone asked him what his studies of the natural world had revealed about the nature of "the creator" if one existed.
Well, Haldane replied: If he exists, he has an inordinate fondness for beetles.
And indeed, the world has an awful lot of beetles. When you ignore bacteria (which are obviously ridiculously diverse), beetles are probably the most diverse kind of life there is. If you stuck your hand into a bag full of one of every plant, fungi, animal and insect species on the planet (ew), you'd probably pull a beetle out.

So what's up with beetles? Do they just divide into new species more rapidly than most creatures on the planet? Probably. But according to a new study published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they may also have a knack for avoiding extinction.

"By looking at the fossil history of the group, we can see that extinction, or rather lack of extinction may be just as important, if not more important, than origination," Dena Smith, lead author and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. "Perhaps we should be focusing more on why beetles are so resistant to extinction."

Smith and her research group looked back at beetles' beginnings 284 million years ago, examining their evolution in the fossil record up until now. By analyzing 5,553 beetle species, they found that very few family groups of beetles have ever gone extinct. The extinction rate was among the lowest ever calculated. In fact, the largest beetle subgroup (Polyphaga) has never had a single family go extinct in its entire evolutionary record. 

Beetles might not be alone in this resilience -- Dena and her colleagues believe that other insect groups may show similar records if they're examined as closely -- but they're almost certainly at the top of the anti-extinction heap. They're incredibly resilient, able to survive in a variety of habitats and on lots of different food sources, so it isn't surprising that they're so good at adapting to environmental changes.