Evans and Bellamy begin with one of the drier topics, taxonomy. A fifth of all known species are beetles — thus Haldane's purported quip that the Creator must have an inordinate fondness for them. Chapter two is a tour of beetle anatomy, a detailed progression from the head backwards, outlining the standard "beetle blueprint" and describing species with unusual features. And chapter three looks briefly at the evolution of beetles, from Permian origins to the present (and their importance for paleoclimatology).
The longest chapter covers beetle life-history and ecology. It describes beetle reproduction and life-cycles (some are ovoviviparous, some parthenogenetic, some lack a pupal stage, some use bioluminescence to attract mates) and different solutions to finding food (there are beetles that feed on pretty much anything: plants, animals, dead matter, dung) and avoiding becoming food (Batesian and Müllerian mimicry, chemical defenses). It also covers some of the variety of parasitic and symbiotic relationships of beetles, notably with ants, termites, bees, and wasps.
The final chapters turn to the relationship between beetles and humans. The first touches on the etymology of "beetle" in different languages, surveys the appearances of beetles in religion and art, and describes their culinary and medicinal uses. The final chapter looks at "beetlephilia" (the emotional relationship between people and beetles, a special case of Wilson's biophilia) and at beetle conservation.