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Family Elateridae - Click Beetles

Beetle? - Alaus oculatus elaterid - Athous cucullatus Conoderus lividus click beetle? - Dalopius Elateridae - Paradonus Anchastus binus? - Anchastus binus Pennsylvania Beetle for ID - Conoderus suturalis Elateridae - Melanotus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Elateriformia)
Superfamily Elateroidea
Family Elateridae (Click Beetles)
Other Common Names
Wireworms (larvae)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
see recent updates in (1)
Explanation of Names
Elateridae Leach 1815
see Elater
~970 described valid spp. in our area + an estimated 75-100 undescribed(2); ~10,000 spp. in 400 genera worldwide(3)(4) arranged into 17 subfamilies(5)
Overview of our faunaTaxa not yet in the guide are marked (*); classification adapted from(7)(8)
Subfamily OESTODINAE Bladus · Oestodes
Tribe Agriotini Subtribe Agriotina Agriotes · Dalopius • Subtribe Pomachiliina Idolus · Leptoschema • Subtribe Synaptina Glyphonyx
Tribe Ampedini Subtribe Ampedina Ampedus • Subtribe Dicrepidiina Blauta · Dicrepidius · Dipropus • Subtribe Melanotina Melanotus • Subtribe Physorhinina Anchastus · Physorhinus
Ampedus: species with bicarinate pronotal hind angles are sometimes treated in Ectamenogonus Buysson 1893
Ctenicera: in NA, C. kendalli (Kirby) is the only species attributable to this genus; all other species cataloged in this genus are undergoing taxonomic review and will eventually get proper generic placement, with several new genera to be erected to accommodate some species
1-60 mm(2)
Peculiar in being able to "click" and jump: if placed on their backs, click beetles use the flexible union of the prothorax and mesothorax (the prosternal spine fits into a groove on the mesosternum) to snap and jump usually falling right side up (in other beetles, the union of prothorax and mesothorax allows little or no movement)
A key to NA genera provided in(9)(2)
Southeastern fauna treated in (1)
Helpful image galleries include (10)(11)(12)(13)
worldwide and throughout NA(2)
Found in all but aquatic and the most severe arctic and alpine habitats(2): adults on flowers/vegetation or under bark; larvae in rotten logs or soil
Larvae: mostly opportunistic predators. Some saprophagous on decay organisms such as myxomycetes, while soil dwelling species are generally predaceous or omnivorous. Agriotes, Limonius, some Melanotus sp., and Selatosomus sp. are herbivorous on sprouting seeds and roots of seedlings of grasses, and occasionally on roots and tubers of vegetables. Larvae are liquid feeders and possess extra-oral digestion.
Adults: Some are predaceous on soft-bodied sternorrhynchous insects and their honey-dew exudates, but many feed on overripe and decaying fruit, nectar, pollen, floral parts, and fungi.
Print References
Dietrich, H. 1945. The Elateridae of New York State. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station Memoir 269, 79
Glen, R. 1950. Larvae of the elaterid beetles of the tribe Lepturoidini (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 111 (11):1–246.
Dogger, J. R. 1959. The Elateridae of Wisconsin: A list of the species found in Wisconsin and keys to the identification of genera of adults and larvae. Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. 48, 103-120.