The ground beetles from the speciose beetle family Carabidae and, since their emergence in the Tertiary, have populated all habitats except deserts. Our knowledge about carabids is biased toward species living in north-temperate regions. Most carabids are predatory, consume a wide range of food types, and experience food shortages in the field. Feeding on both plant and animal material and scavenging are probably more significant than currently acknowledged. The most important mortality sources are abiotic factors and predators; pathogens and parasites can be important for some developmental stages. Although competition among larvae and adults does occur, the importance of competition as a community organization is not proven. Carabids are abundant in agricultural fields all over the world and may be important natural enemies of agricultural pests.