Strictly speaking, these are not
beetles, though they resemble them with their rounded bodies and hard exoskeletons.
Vampire beatles are actually a type of insect similiar to mosquitoes. They
are, however, far stronger. Capable of burrowing through fur and peircing
all but the thickest hides, these insects, like mosquitos, feed by drinking
the blood of larger animals. However, unlike them, vampire beatles always
attack in gigsntic swarms, and can drain even the largest of the swamp's
inhabitants to death quickly. They are nearly indiscriminate in what they
eat, refraining only from eating flying frogs, who are in turn their only
predators. During the colder half of the year, they are not to be found
above ground. Their population increases drastically when the weather warms
as the eggs laid in the mud the season before all hatch within a few days
of each other.
The effect that the loss of Vampire
Beatles would have on an ecosystem is difficult to predict. As they eat
almost every animal indiscriminately, no one single population would explode
disproportianately. However, flying frogs, deprived of their only food
source, would quickly starve. The Beatles' extinction would probably be
disasterous for the ecosystem, but it is unlear which species, no longer
held in check by them, would overrun the rest.