Species of Click Beetles are found all around the world. There are over 900 species known from North America, and probably more that haven't been discovered yet.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); australian (Native ); oceanic islands (Native )
Adult Click Beetles are long skinny beetles with grooves running down their wing covers. Most adult Click Beetles are 12-30 mm long, a few species get up to 45 mm. The front of their heads and the back end of their wing covers are rounded. Unlike most beetles, the connection between the first and second section of the thorax is flexible, they can move their heads and first pair of legs separately from the rest of the body. This lets them do the trick that they are named for. They can snap the two sections, making a loud click sound, and flipping themselves over if they are lying on their backs.
Click Beetle larvae are long and shiny, with tough segmented bodies. They are sometimes called wireworms. Unlike mealworms (which are larvae of another family of beetles) click beetle mouth parts point straight forward.
Range length: 12.0 to 40.0 mm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; female larger
Adult Click Beetles are found on the ground, on plants, in decaying wood, or hiding under bark. Most Click Beetle larvae live in the soil, but some are found under bark, in decaying wood, and in moss. These kinds of beetles are found anywhere there is vegetation and soil, but are rare in deserts or flooded areas.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: taiga ; desert or dune ; chaparral ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains
Adult click beetles feed on nectar, pollen, flowers, and sometimes soft-bodied insects like Aphididae. Click beetle larvae are mostly predators on small soil animals, but some eat roots and seeds.
Adult click beetles use their click to startle predators. They have tough bodies, and many species can fly. Many species hide during the day and are active only at night. Click beetle larvae are also tough, and spend their lives underground.
Animal / parasite
Syngliocladium anamorph of Syngliocladium aranearum parasitises live larva of Elateridae
Based on studies in:
Canada: Manitoba (Grassland)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
Based on studies in:
Canada: Manitoba (Grassland)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Communication and Perception
Most Click Beetles communicate by scent and touch, but some tropical species glow. They have special structures that make light, even brighter than the lightning beetles we see in the U.S.
Like all beetles, Click Beetles have complete metamorphosis. Adult females lay eggs. The young that hatch from the eggs are larvae that are long with shiny segments and no wings. Many species spend a year or more in the larval stage. Larvae transform into pupae, which look sort of like the adults but are a resting stage. Many beetle spend the winter as pupae, but most Click Beetles spend the winter as larvae or adults. Each pupa transforms into an adult after a few days or weeks.
Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis
Some species of Click Beetle can complete two generations in one year, but most take one or more years to become adults. A few species that live in especially cold climates talk 3 or 4 years.
Adult Click Beetles mostly mate in the summer, and then the females lay dozens to hundreds (number depends on species) eggs in the soil.
Breeding season: Summer.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous
Parental Investment: no parental involvement
Evolution and Systematics
Click beetles store work to amplify power a thousandfold by deforming their external cuticle.
"And that's where energy storage comes in. Down to the size of a trout or a squid tentacle, unaided muscle can do a decent job with nothing more than ordinary leverage. Below that, muscle needs help; in practice, energy is put in slowly and stored elastically. Some kind of trigger then releases it at a higher rate. Work and energy may be conserved, but power gets amplified…A click beetle stores up work by deforming the external cuticle; its power amplification is fully a thousandfold (Evans 1973). Each of these creatures has some kind of a mechanical catch to prevent premature extension while the work is being put in; the specific arrangements, though, are different for each case." (Vogel 2003:476)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Evans, MEG. 1973. The jump of the click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae) – energetics and mechanics. 169: 181-194.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:6906
Specimens with Barcodes:6136
Species With Barcodes:940
No Click Beetle species are considered endangered.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
The larvae of some Click Beetles eat roots and seeds, and are significant pests of potatos, corn and other crops.
Negative Impacts: crop pest
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Some Click Beetle larvae are predators on root aphids and other pest insects. One species of glowing Click Beetles is being used for research into the evolution of genes.
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (December 2013)|
Insects in the family Elateridae are commonly called click beetles (or "typical click beetles" to distinguish them from the related Cerophytidae and Eucnemidae). Other names include elaters, snapping beetles, spring beetles or skipjacks. This family was defined by William Elford Leach (1790–1836) in 1815. They are a cosmopolitan beetle family characterized by the unusual click mechanism they possess. There are a few closely related families in which a few members have the same mechanism, but all elaterids can click. A spine on the prosternum can be snapped into a corresponding notch on the mesosternum, producing a violent "click" that can bounce the beetle into the air. Clicking is mainly used to avoid predation, although it is also useful when the beetle is on its back and needs to right itself. There are about 9300 known species worldwide, and 965 valid species in North America.
Description and ecology
Click beetles can be large and colorful, but most are under 2 centimeters long and dull in coloration and patterning. The adults are typically nocturnal and phytophagous, but rarely of economic importance. On hot nights they may enter houses, but are not pests. Click beetle larvae, called wireworms, are usually saprophagous, living on dead organisms, but some species are serious agricultural pests, and others are active predators of other insect larvae. Some elaterid species are bioluminescent in both larval and adult form, such as those of the genus Pyrophorus.
Larvae are slender, elongate, cylindrical or somewhat flattened, with relatively hard bodies, somewhat resembling mealworms. The three pairs of legs on the thoracic segments are short and the last abdominal segment is, as is frequently the case in beetle larvae, directed downwards and may serve as a terminal proleg in some species. The ninth segment, the rearmost, is pointed in larvae of Agriotes, Dalopius and Melanotus, but is bifid due to a so-called caudal notch in Selatosomus (formerly Ctenicera), Limonius, Hypnoides and Athous species. The dorsum of the ninth abdominal segment may also have sharp processes, such as in the Oestodini, including the genera Drapetes and Oestodes. Although some species complete their development in one year (e.g. Conoderus), wireworms usually spend three or four years in the soil, feeding on decaying vegetation and the roots of plants, and often causing damage to agricultural crops such as potato, strawberry, corn, and wheat. The subterranean habits of wireworms, their ability to quickly locate food by following carbon dioxide gradients produced by plant material in the soil, and their remarkable ability to recover from illness induced by insecticide exposure (sometimes after many months), make it hard to exterminate them once they have begun to attack a crop. Wireworms can pass easily through the soil on account of their shape and their propensity for following pre-existing burrows, and can travel from plant to plant, thus injuring the roots of multiple plants within a short time. Methods for pest control include crop rotation and clearing the land of insects before sowing.
Other subterranean creatures such as the leatherjacket grub of crane flies which have no legs, and geophilid centipedes, which may have over two hundred, are sometimes confounded with the six-legged wireworms.
- Schneider, M. C., et al. (2006). "Evolutionary chromosomal differentiation among four species of Conoderus Eschscholtz, 1829 (Coleoptera, Elateridae, Agrypninae, Conoderini) detected by standard staining, C-banding, silver nitrate impregnation, and CMA3/DA/DAPI staining". Genetica 128 (1–3): 333–346. doi:10.1007/s10709-006-7101-5. PMID 17028962.
- Majka, C. G. and P. J. Johnson (2008). "The Elateridae (Coleoptera) of the Maritime Provinces of Canada: faunal composition, new records, and taxonomic changes" (PDF excerpt). Zootaxa 1811: 1–33.
- van Herk, W. (March 12, 2009). "Limonius: wireworm research site". Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- R. S. Vernon, W. van Herk, J. Tolman, H. Ortiz Saavedra, M. Clodius & B. Gage (2008). "Transitional sublethal and lethal effects of insecticides after dermal exposures to five economic species of wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae)". Journal of Economic Entomology 101 (2): 365–374. doi:10.1603/0022-0493(2008)101[365:TSALEO]2.0.CO;2. PMID 18459400.
- William E. Parker & Julia J. Howard (2001). "The biology and management of wireworms (Agriotes spp.) on potato with particular reference to the U.K.". Agricultural and Forest Entomology 3 (2): 85–98. doi:10.1046/j.1461-9563.2001.00094.x.
- J. F. Doane, Y. W. Lee, N. D. Westcott & J. Klingler (1975). "The orientation response of Ctenicera destructor and other wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) to germinating grain and to carbon dioxide". Canadian Entomologist 107 (12): 1233–1252. doi:10.4039/Ent1071233-12.
- W. G. van Herk, R. S. Vernon, J. H. Tolman & H. Ortiz Saavedra (2008). "Mortality of a wireworm, Agriotes obscurus (Coleoptera: Elateridae), after topical application of various insecticides". Journal of Economic Entomology 101 (2): 375–383. doi:10.1603/0022-0493(2008)101[375:moawao]2.0.co;2. PMID 18459401.
- Willem G. van Herk & Robert S. Vernon (2007). "Soil bioassay for studying behavioral responses of wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) to inecticide-treated wheat seed". Environmental Entomology 36 (6): 1441–1449. doi:10.1603/0046-225X(2007)36[1441:SBFSBR]2.0.CO;2. PMID 18284772.
EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!