6 spp. total, all in our area(1)
; 4 spp. in NC (piceus, morio, puncticollis, reichei
"Large, smooth, shining black, distinguished from allied genera by having the sides of the mesosternal cavity raised and swollen so as to be protuberant, and the tarsal joints furnished beneath with a dense brush of hairs. The antennae are serrate with third joint usually a little longer than fourth and the hind angles of thorax are prominent and strongly carinate."(3)
mostly eastern (3 spp. span e. & c. US, one is restricted to c. US, and one to the East Coast), with 1 western sp. (so. OR to Baja) (Mathieu 1961)
Blatchley gives the following key for for species in Indiana:
a. Striae on disk of elytra not at all impressed, their punctures very fine and separated one from another by more than their own diameters; intervals flat, very minutely and indistinctly punctulate. --> piceus
aa. Striae of elytra more or less impressed, the punctures more distinct and not separated by more than their own diameters; intervals distinctly punctulate.
b. Elytral strife deeply impressed, coarsely punctate ; intervals strongly convex. --> morio
bb. Elytral striae feebly impressed, finely punctured; intervals nearly flat.
c. Thorax rather sparsely and finely punctured. --> puncticollis
cc. Thorax very densely and coarsely punctured.--> consors
(Note that this historical reference should not be relied on for keying, but it may have some value for identification.)
Mathieu J.M. 1961. Revision of the genus Melanactes, with a proposed new genus (Coleoptera, Elateridae). American Midland Naturalist 65(2): 459-480