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Click beetle

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Click beetles
Limoniscus violaceus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Elateridae
Leach, 1815
File:Click beetle springs.ogv

Click beetle is the common name for beetles in the family Elateridae. They are also called elaters, snapping beetles, spring beetles or skipjacks. These beetles can be found almost anywhere on Earth. They have the unusual ability to flick themselves into the air. When they do this, they make a "clicking" (or snapping) sound. The beetle does this by flexing the joint between sections of the thorax, where there is a spine on one side of the joint and a groove on the other. The peg is snapped into the groove. This makes a "click" that flicks the beetle into the air. If it lands on its back, then it repeats the click until it lands on its legs. Clicking is mainly used to escape from predators. The click can make it jump between 15 and 30 centimetres into the air.

The Elateridae family of beetles was first defined in 1815. There are about 9,300 known species around the world.[1] This includes 965 species in North America.[2]

Most click beetles are under 2 centimeters long and dull in colour. Some species are large and colorful. They usually look for food during the night, and are not usually active during the day.

Click beetle larvae are called wireworms. Wireworms usually spend three or four years living under the soil. Here they feed on rotting plants and roots. They can cause damage to some crops.[3][4] When this happens, they can be very difficult to kill off.[5][6][7]

Selected genera


  1. Schneider, M.C., et al (2006). "Evolutionary chromosomal differentiation among four species of Conoderus Eschscholtz, 1829 (Coleoptera, Elateridae, Agrypninae, Conoderini) detected by standart 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 .
  2. Majka, C.G. & 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.
  3. Vernon, R.S., et al (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 .
  4. Parker, William E. & 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 .
  5. Doane, J.F., et al (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 .
  6. van Herk, W.G. et al (2008). "Mortality of a wireworm, Agriotes obscurus (Coleoptera: Elateridae), after topical application of various insecticides". Journal of Economic Entomology 101 (2): 375–383. PMID 18459401 .
  7. van Herk, Willem G. & 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 .


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