Click Beetles-Elateridae

Click Beetles-Elateridae

The family Elateridae is comprised of torpedo-shaped Coleoptera that are commonly known as click beetles. They are found on flowers and plants and under the bark of trees. When the click beetle suspects danger, it pulls in its legs and drops to the ground where it can hide among fallen leaves or in vegetation. This free-fall escape procedure often lands the click beetle on its back, a situation in which many insects are left completely helpless.

The click beetle has a flexible joint at the base of its elytra, a feature found in only a few species of Coleoptera outside of this family. When the click beetle falls on its back it lies still for a moment. Then, utilizing its flexible joint, it arches its back until only its extremities are touching the ground. The click beetle then snaps its body straight, a movement that tosses the insect into the air in a series of somersaults. Often the click beetle will land on its back again, rest for a second, and then continue its snapping movement until it lands right side up. Each jump is accompanied by an audible click for which this beetle is named.

Click beetle larvae, known as wireworms, are found in soil or in rotting logs. Many species of wireworms are destructive, feeding on the roots of plants and on freshly scattered seed. Some species whose larvae often inhabit the soil of farm land in enormous numbers are especially devastating.

The largest member of this family, the eyed elater, Alaus oculatus, is also the most easily recognized. About iV2 inches in length, the eyed elater is a gray insect with two large shiny black spots on its pronotum.

Click beetles of the genus Pyrophorus are notable in that they emit light from spots on their prothorax and abdomen.


 

INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:26:14 PM