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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Elateridae (click beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Elateroidea

These beetles are called Click Beetles because when they land on their backs, they have a characteristic ability to catapult themselves into the air with a 'click' . This is done with a special spine and notch mechanism situated on the dorsal side between the pro- and mesothorax. They are small to large beetles (4-80mm), elongate and parallel-sided. They vary in colour and can be quite strikingly marked. They could be mistaken for small buprestid beetles. The head is deeply tucked under the pronotum but unlike the buprestids, the points on the hind margins of the pronotum are more extended.

Adults are most often seen at night as adult are mostly nocturnal and are attracted to lights. Adults feed on pollen, foliage and flowers. Larvae usually live in the soil and rotting wood, feeding on roots, bulbs and other insects. The long shiny yellow larvae, called wire worm, are sometimes pests of crops.

Some subfamiles, genera and species

Subfamily Cardiophorinae

Cardiophorus obliquemaculatus

Subfamily Ctenicerinae

Calais tortrix

Subfamily Tetralobinae

Tetralobus flabellicornis,

Page by Margie Cochrane