Insects in the family Elateridae are commonly called click beetles (or "typical click beetles" to distinguish them from the related families 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 other families of Elateroidea 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.
|Click beetle adults and larvae (wireworms)|
Left: Wheat Wireworm (Agriotes mancus)
Right: Sand Wireworm (Horistonotus uhlerii)
Some click beetles are large and colorful, but most are under 2 centimeters long and brown or black, without markings. The adults are typically nocturnal and phytophagous, but only some are of economic importance. On hot nights they may enter houses, but are not pests there. 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 elongate, cylindrical or somewhat flattened, with 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), most wireworms 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 confused with the six-legged wireworms.
Agriotes sputator is a species of click beetle, commonly known as the common click beetle. The adult beetle is brown and inconspicuous, and the larvae live in the soil and are known as wireworms. They are agricultural pests that devour the roots and underground parts of many crops and other plants.Alaus
Alaus is a genus of click beetle belonging to the family Elateridae. Unlike many click beetles, Alaus larvae are completely predatory.Alaus oculatus
Alaus oculatus, commonly called the eastern eyed click beetle or eyed elater, is a species of click beetle.Amychus granulatus
Amychus granulatus, commonly known as the Cook Strait click beetle, is a large flightless click beetle in the family Elateridae.Cerophytidae
The Cerophytidae are a family of insects known as the rare click beetles. It contains 22 species in four genera, primarily distributed in the New World:
Genus Aphytocerus Zherikhin, 1977
Aphytocerus communis Zherikhin, 1977
Genus Brachycerophytum Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Brachycerophytum sinchona Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Genus Cerophytum Latreille, 1806
Cerophytum convexicolle LeConte, 1866
Cerophytum japonicum Sasaji, 1999
Cerophytum pulsator (Haldeman, 1845)
Genus Phytocerum Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum alleni Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum belloi Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum birai Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum boliviense (Golbach, 1983)
Phytocerum burakowskii Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum cayennense (de Bonvouloir, 1870)
Phytocerum distinguendum (Soares & Peracchi, 1964)
Phytocerum golbachi Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum ingens Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum inpa Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum minutum (Golbach, 1983)
Phytocerum serraticorne Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum simonkai Costa, Vanin, Lawrence & Ide, 2003
Phytocerum trinidadense (Golbach, 1983)
Phytocerum zikani (Soares & Peracchi, 1964)Dixton Wood
Dixton Wood (grid reference SO979313) is a 13.14-hectare (32.5-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 2000. Dixton Wood is recognised as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive.Elater (beetle)
Elater is a genus of click beetle belonging to the family Elateridae.Hemicrepidius
Hemicrepidius is a genus of click beetle belonging to the family Elateridae.Lacon (beetle)
Lacon is a genus of click beetle belonging to the family Elateridae and the subfamily Agrypninae.Lacon marmoratus
Lacon marmoratus, the marbled click beetle, is a species of click beetle in the family Elateridae.List of click beetle species recorded in Britain
The following is a list of the click beetle (family Elateridae) species recorded in Britain. For other beetles, see List of beetle species recorded in Britain.Luciferase
Luciferase is a generic term for the class of oxidative enzymes that produce bioluminescence, and is usually distinguished from a photoprotein. The name was first used by Raphaël Dubois who invented the words luciferin and luciferase, for the substrate and enzyme, respectively. Both words are derived from the Latin word lucifer – meaning lightbringer.
Luciferases are widely used in biotechnology, for microscopy and as reporter genes, for many of the same applications as fluorescent proteins. However, unlike fluorescent proteins, luciferases do not require an external light source, but do require addition of luciferin, the consumable substrate.Oophorini
The Oophorini form an accepted taxonomic tribe within the Elateridae (click beetle) subfamily Agrypninae.Pyrophorini
The Pyrophorini are a New World taxonomic tribe within the Elateridae (click beetle) subfamily Agrypninae. Pyrophorini is a tribe of bioluminescent beetles, and includes such genera as Pyrophorus and Ignelater.
It is believed to be monophyletic.
The former tribe Heligmini is very closely related to the Pyrophorini; the latter is exclusively bioluminescent, while the former has a complete absence of adult light organs and only a single species is known to be bioluminescent.Pyrophorini is not the exclusive tribe of bioluminescent click beetles. Tribe Euplinthini also contains bioluminescent species, as well as Campyloxenus pyrothorax (from Chile) in the related monotypic subfamily Campyloxeninae. The newly described Sinopyrophorinae represent the first bioluminescent click beetles known from Asia.Subtribes:
Nyctophyxina (Earliest diverged subtribe)
Hapsodrilina (2nd earlier diverged subtribe)
Pyrophorina (Large subtribe that contains most of the Pyrophorini genera.)Semiotus ligneus
Semiotus ligneus is a species of click beetle from Central and South America.It grows to a total length of 15–44 millimetres (0.6–1.7 in), and is 3.7–4.2 times as long as it is wide. The larvae are 27 mm (1.1 in) long. It closely resembles seed sheaths, which provides it with effective camouflage.S. ligneus is the most frequently collected species in the genus Semiotus. Its closest relative is Semiotus serraticornis.Violet click beetle
The violet click beetle (Limoniscus violaceus) is a black beetle, 12 mm long, with a faint blue/violet reflection. It gets its name from the family habit of springing upwards with an audible click if it falls on its back.
The beetle is listed in Annex II of the EC Habitats Directive and Schedule 5 of the UK's Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is also listed as Endangered in the GB Red List. It is to be found in only a few locations in Europe, including three sites in Britain. These are Windsor Forest (where it was first found in 1937), Bredon Hill in Worcestershire (1989), and Dixton Wood SSSI in Gloucestershire (1998).This sapro-xylophagous beetle is found only in the heart of decayed ancient trees, specifically in undisturbed wood-mould at the base of central cavities: in Britain it has been found only in beech and ash trees. Its very specific habitat requirements mean that the beetle is very rare, and even at the three sites where it has been found, there are few suitable trees, and their number is declining. One of the host trees at Windsor blew down in the Great Storm of 1987, but was re-erected solely as a host for the violet click beetle. English Nature's conservation efforts continue in an effort to create more suitable trees, including by erecting more decaying trees, and artificially aging some others.
The violet click beetle is one of the species that the Back from the Brink project aims to save from extinction.Windsor Forest and Great Park
Windsor Forest and Great Park is a 1,778.9-hectare (4,396-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Berkshire and Surrey, located south of Windsor. It is a Special Area of Conservation and Windsor Forest is a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I. Landscaped woodland gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Windsor Great Park is a Royal Park of 2,020 hectares (5,000 acres), including a deer park,This large site has woodland with many ancient trees and large areas of parkland. It is second only to the New Forest for the diversity of its invertebrates, including many Red Data Book beetles and flies. There is an internationally important population of the violet click beetle. The fungi species are very diverse, including some which are extremely rare.Woolbeding and Pound Commons
Woolbeding and Pound Commons is a 171.9-hectare (425-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest north of Midhurst in West Sussex.The commons have areas of wet and dry heath, woodland, ponds and wet flushes. Invertebrates include a number of Red Data Book species, such as the bee Hylaeus gibbus, the Eumenes coarctatus and Psen bruxellensis wasps and the click-beetle Hylis olexai. The site also provides a habitat for three rare birds, woodlark, nightjar and Dartford warbler.The site is crossed by roads and footpaths.
Extant Coleoptera families