Click Beetles Demystified: Key Facts Summarized for Easy Understanding

Click beetles are a fascinating group of insects known for their unique ability to make a clicking sound and perform acrobatic flips. Belonging to the family Elateridae, these beetles are characterized by their long, narrow body with rounded or tapered ends, and mostly drab brown, black, or gray coloring.

The click beetle’s most notable feature is the audible click it produces when it snaps its body. This mechanism is used as a way to deter predators or to right itself when it ends up on its back. The larvae of click beetles, called wireworms, have a tough, segmented body and are known to live in decaying logs, preying on longhorn beetle grubs.

One of the larger click beetles, the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle, can be found throughout South Carolina and is easily recognized by two bold black spots near its head that resemble eyes. These false eyes are thought to scare away predators, while the beetle’s true eyes are much smaller and located behind the antennae.

Understanding Click Beetles

What Are Click Beetles?

Click beetles, also known as snapping beetles, spring beetles, skipjacks, or alaus, are fascinating insects belonging to the family Elateridae. They get their name from the clicking mechanism they possess, which they primarily use as a defense to escape or startle potential predators1.

Family Elateridae

The family Elateridae comprises various species of beetles. These insects are commonly found in habitats such as:

  • Soil
  • Decaying wood
  • Moss
  • On plants2

They are mostly found in areas with vegetation and soil but are rare in deserts or flooded areas2.

Distinctive Features

Some key distinctive features of click beetles are:

  • Long, narrow body with rounded or tapered ends3
  • Drab brown, black, or gray colors, with some having interesting patterns3
  • Extended pronotum (shield-like portion between the head and wing covers) pointed to the rear3
  • Serrated, threadlike, or tiny comb-tipped antennae3

One notable species within this family is the eyed click beetle, which is characterized by its two large, round markings resembling eyes.

Click Beetle and Eyed Click Beetle Comparison

Feature Click Beetle Eyed Click Beetle
Body Shape Long, narrow, rounded or tapered ends3 Same3
Colors Drab brown, black, or gray3 Gray or black with large eye-like markings3
Antennae Serrated, threadlike, or tiny comb-tipped3 Same3
Pronotum Pointed to the rear3 Same3
Habitat Soil, decaying wood, moss, plants2 Same2

Pros and Cons of Click Beetles

Pros Cons
Unique clicking mechanism for defense1 Can be mistaken for harmful beetles
Interesting patterns and eye-like markings

Click Beetle Behavior and Habitat

Nocturnal or Diurnal

Click beetles are mostly nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active during the night and generally resting or hiding during the day. This behavior helps them to avoid predators and find their sources of food more effectively.

Preferred Habitat

These beetles prefer living in areas with plenty of vegetation and soil, like forests, gardens, and wooded areas. They are common throughout North America, except for extremely arid deserts and flooded regions. Adult click beetles can be found on the ground, on plants, in decaying wood, or hiding under bark, while larvae usually live in the soil1.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Click beetles have diverse diet preferences depending on their stage of life:

  • Larvae: Called “wireworms,” they feed mainly on the roots of plants and are known to cause damage to crops2.
  • Adults: They feed on nectar, pollen, and flowers and are attracted to the scent of different plant species3.

Below is a comparison table of adult and larval diets:

Stage Diet
Adults Nectar, pollen, flowers
Larvae Roots of plants (as wireworms)

In summary, click beetles are nocturnal insects that prefer habitats rich in vegetation and soil. They have diverse diet preferences, with adults feeding on nectar, pollen, and flowers, while larvae feed on plant roots.

Lifecycle and Reproduction

Stages of Development

Click beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, which consists of four stages:

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Pupa
  • Adult

The lifecycle begins with the female beetle laying her eggs, which typically hatch within 7 to 10 days1.

Larvae and Wireworms

Click beetle larvae, commonly referred to as wireworms, are long, shiny, and have tough segmented bodies. Unlike mealworms (the larvae of a different beetle family), click beetle larvae have mouthparts that point straight forward. Wireworms dwell in soil, feeding on roots, stems, and seeds of plants.

Adult Click Beetles

Once the larvae reach their final stage, they pupate, eventually emerging as adult click beetles. Adult click beetles have a unique ability to “click,” which helps them escape from predators and flip over if they are on their backs. They achieve this by snapping two sections of their body together, producing a loud click sound.

Generations and Metamorphosis

Click beetles exhibit generations throughout their lifecycle, as adults mate and lay eggs to produce the next generation of beetles. This continuous cycle of metamorphosis ensures the survival and adaptation of the species to their environment.

Different Species of Click Beetles

Glowing Click Beetles and Bioluminescence

Glowing click beetles, also known as ampelophilinae, are a fascinating subgroup of click beetles. They have the unique ability to produce bioluminescent light, which helps them in various ways, such as attracting mates or warding off predators.

  • Bioluminescence: A natural glow produced by chemical reactions within the beetle’s body.

Various North American Species

There are numerous click beetle species found in North America. These beetles differ in size, color, and habitat preferences. Some examples of North American click beetle species include:

  • Alaus oculatus (Eastern-eyed click beetle)
  • Agriotes lineatus (Lined click beetle)
  • Lacon querceus (Spotted oak click beetle)

Texas Beetle and Eastern Eyed Click Beetle

Texas beetles, or wireworms, are a common click beetle species found in the southern United States. They are typically 1/4 inches long and can vary in color.

The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle, Alaus oculatus, is a larger species, reaching lengths of up to 45 mm. This beetle is notable for its striking appearance, sporting large, distinctive “eyespots” on its pronotum, which are meant to deter predators.

Texas Beetle Eastern Eyed Click Beetle
Size: 1/4 inches Size: up to 45 mm
Varies in color Bold “eyespots” on pronotum
Common in southern US Found across North America

Impacts on Environment and Agriculture

Click Beetles as Pests

  • Click beetles are known for being agricultural pests due to their larval stage, commonly referred to as wireworms.
  • They can affect a variety of crops, damaging their roots and lowering overall yield.

Infestation and Management

  • Entomologists play a crucial role in identifying and managing click beetle infestations in agricultural and urban environments.
  • Chemical pesticides may be used to control their populations, but it is important to consider their effects on the environment and non-target species.

Preventing Click Beetle Damage

  1. Crop rotation: Regularly changing the type of crop grown in a specific area can reduce the likelihood of wireworms establishing a persistent population.
  2. Natural predators: Encourage the presence of beneficial insects, like ground beetles and parasitic wasps, which can help control wireworm populations.
  3. Trapping: Use bait stations to attract and trap wireworms in the field, aiding in assessment and management.

Pros and Cons of Chemical Pesticides

Pros Cons
Effective control Potential harm to non-target species
Rapid results Environmental concerns
Wide variety of use Potential development of pesticide resistance

Natural Predators of Click Beetles

Insect Predators

  • Spiders: Various species prey on click beetles, known for ambushing and trapping them in webs.
  • Crane flies: Some crane fly larvae consume click beetle larvae found in soil.

Vertebrate Predators

  • Toads: These amphibians are known to eat click beetles by using their sticky tongues to catch them.
  • Lizards: Small species of lizards consume click beetles as part of their diet.
  • Moles and shrews: Both feed on click beetle larvae found below the ground.
  • Bats: As adept insect eaters, bats consume a variety of insects including click beetles.

Comparison Table

Predator Diet Prey on Adults Prey on Larvae
Spiders Insects Yes No
Crane flies Insects, roots No Yes
Toads Insects Yes No
Lizards Insects Yes No
Moles Insects, worms No Yes
Shrews Insects, worms No Yes
Bats Insects Yes No

Click beetles have a few defense mechanisms to deter predators, such as their ability to click and startle potential threats. This clicking action can also help them escape when they land on their backs.
Despite these defenses, they remain a valuable food source for various predators in their ecosystem.

Identifying and Dealing with Click Beetles

How to Identify Click Beetles

Click beetles are long, narrow, and rounded or tapered at each end. They are commonly brown, black, or gray. Key identification features include:

  • Sides are fairly parallel
  • Pronotum (shield-like portion between head and wing covers) extended on each side
  • Antennae are usually serrate (saw-toothed), thread-like, or with small combs at the tip3

Getting Rid of Click Beetles

Click beetles are often plant-eating and can become a nuisance pest. To help get rid of click beetles, consider the following methods:

  • Remove decaying wood, bark, and debris from around your property1
  • Cultivate the soil to expose wireworm larvae, which are click beetle larvae2
  • Use traps, such as sticky traps, to catch adult beetles

False Click Beetles

False click beetles belong to the family Eucnemidae. They share some similarities with click beetles (Elateridae), but also have key differences. A comparison table is provided below:

Feature Click Beetle False Click Beetle
Clicking ability Yes4 No
Antennae Serrate, thread-like, or with small combs3 Typically thread-like
Habitat Ground, plants, decaying wood, bark1 Decaying wood, under bark

Remember to split up text into several paragraphs and use bullet points when it helps convey information. Avoid making exaggerated or false claims, and strive for a friendly tone of voice.

Footnotes

  1. Click Beetles – Home and Garden IPM 2 3 4 5 6
  2. BioKIDS – Kids’ Inquiry of Diverse Species 2 3 4 5 6
  3. Click Beetles – Discover Nature Field Guide 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
  4. Click Beetles – Home and Garden IPM from Cooperative Extension

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Wireworm

 

please identify this bug
Location: Sonome County, California
April 18, 2011 3:25 pm
I have found multiple bites on my horse. When searching her stall i found 4 of these creepy things, two in her shavings and two under the rubber mat.
they crawl very fast, I noticed that the last two sections of the body (tail) are dark compared to the rest of the body. 6 legs and what looks like two stingers on the tail.
Signature: Trina

Wireworm

Hi Trina,
This is a beetle larva, and we believe it is a Wireworm, the larva of a Click Beetle.  You can see other photos of Wireworms on BugGuide.  They are usually found in the soil where they eat insects, roots and seeds.  We do not believe they are responsible for the bites on your horse which are much more likely to be caused by flies, especially Horse Flies.  Since we will be out of the office for the rest of the week, we are postdating this entry to go live later in the week.

Wireworm

Letter 2 – Giant Acacia Click Beetle from South Africa

 

Subject:  Unknown beetle/insect
Geographic location of the bug:  South Africa
Date: 03/07/2018
Time: 11:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This beetle/insect (see picture) is by my estimate about 10cm long has wings and its wing beat is loud
How you want your letter signed:  Jacques

Giant Acacia Click Beetle

Dear Jacques,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and though individuals with feathered or pectinate antennae are found in the family, they are not the norm.  We believe it might be the Giant Acacia Click Beetle,
Tetralobus flabellicornis, which is pictured on iSpot

Letter 3 – Flat Wireworm

 

Subject: Identify this bug
Location: DC
July 3, 2017 12:59 pm
I usually see this bugs in the summer. I live in Washington DC
Signature: Now

Flat Wireworm

Dear Now,
We believe we have correctly identified your Click Beetle as a Flat Wireworm,
Aeolus mellillus, thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide, it is found “across NA.”

Letter 4 – Unknown Australian Darkling Beetle

 

March 20, 2010
HI Please can you tell me what type of beetle this is please, iv have only just started getting interested in
bug and insects I’m a cub scout leader so i would like to show the cubs all the pics i take and tel them
about the fly or bug thank you. The beetle was found at Joondalup lake.
many thanks
Stephanie Nolson

Unknown Darkling Beetle

Hi Stephanie,
Before we could even attempt to answer your question, we needed to research where on the planet Joondalup lake is found, and we now know that it is near Perth in Western Australia.  We thought your beetle looked like a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but it is shorter and stouter than most members of that family.  We found some images that are also unidentified on the Life Unseen website page of Australian Click Beetles.  We may be totally wrong, but that is our best guess at the moment.

Daniel:
Definitely a darkling beetle, family Tenebrionidae.  Beyond that I can’t help much, not being very familiar with the Australian fauna.  I will, however, happily accept a year or two sabbatical, expenses paid, to study the insects and arachnids there:-)
Eric

Letter 5 – Magnificent Click Beetle from the Philippines

 

Subject: Click Beetle (Philippines)
Location: Tagaytay City, Luzon, Philippines
May 18, 2013 8:00 pm
Hi Bugman,
As requested, sending you three pics of the click beetle that I saw 2 weekends ago.
Location is Tagaytay City, Luzon, Philippines. Just as an fyi, Tagaytay City is around 2,000 ft. above sea level and has a relatively cool climate.
Here is the video again as well. Hope you can see it this time. If not, I will try another way to send it to you.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=569120633133070&l=4035790639141631968 (select the link, right click on it and choose ” Go to https:\\ … ” .
rgds,
Noel
Signature: Noel Coronel

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Noel,
We are so happy you sent a comment to our Click Beetle from Thailand posting.  We will write more on this later.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

In the original posting, we eventually learned this magnificent Click Beetle is Ocynopterus mucronatus and that Project Noah also places the species in the Philippines.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

 

Letter 6 – Apache Click Beetle

 

Subject: Dark Blue and White Striped Bug.
Location: Mohave Valley, AZ
August 3, 2013 5:55 pm
I hope I succeed in sending you the photo I took several days ago of this strange looking striped bug in Mohave Valley, AZ
Signature: Liz K

Apache Click Beetle
Apache Click Beetle

Hi Liz,
This Apache Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius apacheanus, is sure a lovely specimen.  Click Beetles get their common name from their ability, when they are on their backs, to snap their bodies, flipping over in the air while making an audible “clicking” noise.

Letter 7 – Apache Click Beetle

 

Subject:  I can’t find this on inaturalist
Geographic location of the bug:  Arizona/Sonoran border
Date: 07/27/2019
Time: 01:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  @ Coronado after a couple of rains.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29543844
About 2inches long.Can Fly
BTW, how come I can’t sign in no more?
How you want your letter signed: ptosis

Apache Click Beetle

Dear ptosis,
This gorgeous beetle is an Apache Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius apacheanus, which we identified on BugGuide.  When we posted images of this strikingly beautiful beetle long ago, we pondered the lack of a common name on BugGuide at the time, and we proposed Apache Click Beetle as the common name based on its existing scientific name.  We don’t understand your question:  “BTW, how come I can’t sign in no more?”  Please clarify.

Apache Click Beetle

Letter 8 – Ruby Click Beetle from Baja California Sur, Mexico

 

Subject: Big beetle
Location: Baja California Sur
November 6, 2015 5:01 pm
Can you please tell me what this is? It landed in our backyard in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Signature: Cheryl Connors

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Cheryl,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and it resembles
Ampedus sanguinipennis that is pictured on BugGuide.  We suspect it may be a member of the same genus.

Update:  Ruby Click Beetle
Thanks to a comment from coleopterist Dr. Arthur Evans, we now know that this is the Ruby Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius rubripennis, a species depicted on Whole Sale Insects.

Letter 9 – Corn Wireworm

 

What is this?
Location:  Southern Ohio
October 12, 2010 7:38 pm
We found this little guy (about 1/4”) struggling along on our kitchen floor in a home we just took occupancy of 2 weeks ago. We had some roaches in the basement with the classic long antennae, long body and bug bombed the house before moving in. There’s been only a couple of critters crawling since then, spiders, crickets, etc. But, none that looked remotely like a roach until today, when I took these photos.
Signature:  PestDecide

Corn Wireworm

Dear PestDecide,
WE knew immediately that your beetle was a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but we were prepared for a ponderous search of BugGuide to identify the species.  We quickly found the Corn Wireworm, the common name for the species in the genus
Aeolus which are described on BugGuide.  Your photos are quite unusual in that the contrast and levels appear to have been manipulated which renders the markings on the insect in supersaturated color.

Daniel:
Thank you for the speedy response. You’re absolutely correct that there was some photo rendering. Getting such close ups with my camera, the photos came out rather dark so I increased the gamma correction to lighten up the beetle so the markings could be seen. I do appreciate the quick attention to our question.
Mark Stanton
Franklin, OH

Letter 10 – Fanmail: How to find a Click Beetle

 

find a click beetle
April 6, 2010
Dear Bugman,
I can see that many folks find strange creatures, take a picture, and then ask you to identify the odd looking things.
Though I have used your site numerous times, I truly cringe at almost all of the photos. In fact, there are some, that I can not even bring myself to see. Having said that, I now homeschool three children, and in our studies it is extremely important that they grow to love nature. That includes the bugs. So, with great effort, I overcome my desire to scream and smash, and I gently capture the insects that roam around our home. We admire them and learn about them for a brief time and let them go again. This week, we have found a really nice big black Carpenter Bee! Your site helped us identify it.
So, with the greatest trepidation, I must ask for your help in the reverse. At some point in the past I had an encounter with a click beetle. It was startling, to say the least (remember, I shudder at all bugs), but interesting in how it flips over. I still live in Chandler Arizona USA where I met this click beetle. So now I get to my question….. Could you tell me where to look for another click beetle? My children would be ever so happy to see this little bug, which has also been romanticized in a children’s book by Eric Carle (which by the way is how I came to know what the bug was that I had encountered). Any ideas of where to look for these? Thanks in advance for any information you could share.
Michelle and her three kiddies
P.S. Chandler AZ is southeast of Phoenix, in the valley, and we live in a subdivision with lizards, geckos, black widows,lots of ants, but no scorpions (thankfully).

Dear Michelle,
Click Beetles are often attracted to lights, so you can try leaving the porch light on to see what arrives.

Letter 11 – Graboid, Grub, or Something Else??? Wireworm Perhaps!!!

 

beetle larvae?
Hi, I’ve been bugging on and off for around 40 years but I have never seen one of these before. It’s about an inch long and found it in the dry Texas hill country. It moves very slow so I don’t see how it could catch anything but looks predatory to me, maybe it sits and waits? I know it’s a larvae but of what species, I don’t know. Do you know what this thing is?

Discounting the possibility that this is a Graboid from the movie Tremors, we believe a Beetle Grub is a good possibility, but we are not sure what. It could be subterranean, like the Graboids, which would make it a more effective predator than it is above ground. We are contacting Eric Eaton to see what he thinks.

Ha, ..Graboid.. Well I know your not seeing it in person but you’d see that it’s not a common grub. I noticed too that it has a feature underneath very close to the back end that it probably uses to anchor down and probably helps it crawl through holes, maybe those to finger-like things help it stay anchored too if it catches something at the entrance of a hole, ..speculating a lot there. I guess I’ll hang on to it and see what it turns into if we can’t find more info. Thanks a lot!
David
I was wondering if it was a larvae of a Pasimachus species, maybe something like Pasimachus elongatus? …I can’t find of pic of a larvae of one of those.

Update: (07/02/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
Wow, a couple real challenges! I suspect the grub is a soil-encrusted “wireworm,” the larva of a large click beetle, family Elateridae, but I can’t be positive. Looks like it has two prongs coming out the hind end which would be peculiar for wireworms….
Eric

Letter 12 – Green Click Beetle

 

What’s This Bug?
August 2, 2011 7:58 AM
this is a beetle in a pine forest in missoula, montana.
thank you!
c.

Green Click Beetle

Hi Clare,
We are relatively confident that we have identified your Click Beetle as a Green Click Beetle,
Nitidolimonius resplendens, based on images posted to BugGuide, which lists the habitat as:  “variously-aged coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests; on poplar (Populus), willow (Salix), or on shrubs; adults often found on the spring growth of conifers along margins of wetlands and drainages.”  The only sightings reported from BugGuide are in Alaska, Alberta Canada and New Hampshire.

Letter 13 – Green Click Beetle from Alaska

 

Subject: Two interesting and beautiful bugs in Alaska
Location: Near Fairbanks Alaska
June 5, 2016 5:20 pm
Hello bugperson,
In the past week I have found two beautiful insects around our home in Fairbanks Alaska. I have looked through your site and also consulted Dr. Google, but have not yet been able to figure out what they might be. The yellowish metallic beetle is on an apple leaf. It was perhaps a half inch long. …  Thanks for any help you can give me.
Signature: bugalaska

Green Click Beetle
Green Click Beetle

Dear bugalaska,
Your second beetle is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and we quickly identified it as a Green Click Beetle,
Nitidolimonius resplendens, thanks to a BugGuide posting where it is described as “The head, pronotum and underside are metallic purple and the elytra and legs are metallic green most of the time, but with a change in the light angle, the elytra edges turn purple. At other angles, the beetle is black, especially the underside, so it’s very hard to photograph.”  According to BugGuide, the habitat is:  “variously-aged coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests; on poplar (Populus), willow (Salix), or on shrubs; adults often found on the spring growth of conifers along margins of wetlands and drainages; boreomontane forest, prairie and parkland poplar groves; larvae in leaf litter and rotting wood.”

Thank you so much for the identification and got all the additional information!  You provide such a wonderful service to bug fanciers everywhere!

Letter 14 – Larviform Beetle, but what family??? Female Click Beetle

 

Queen something?
Location: Pasadena, California
June 20, 2011 11:24 am
Found this crawling across the floor of my kitchen this morning, sort of trundling along dragging its long rear end behind it. About 3” long. Photos taken after it was thoroughly drowned in RAID….
Signature: Creeped Out

Female Click Beetle

Dear Creeped Out,
While we are not certain of the exact identity of this unfortunate creature, we are relatively certain of two things.  First, it appears to be a beetle in the order Coleoptera, and second, it is probably predatory and drowning it with Raid constitutes Unnecessary Carnage.  We are not certain if this is a larva.  We feel more confident that it is a larviform adult.  Females of some beetles resemble larvae.  This might be a Rove Beetle in the family Staphylinidae, or perhaps it is a female Glowworm in the family Phengodidae, or perhaps it is something we are not considering.  We are going to try to get a second opinion on this creature.

Several of my friends suggested termite queen… so, glad it’s not that, at least. 🙂
Sorry about the unnecessary carnage. I’ll try to have my husband take some better pictures when he gets home tonight (I left the bug under a plastic cup in case the RAID didn’t actally kill it.  Yes, I’m that squeamish about bugs.)  ;P

Hmmm.  Termite Queen might actually be correct in which case we would retract the Unnecessary Carnage tag.  The antennae don’t seem correct for a Termite.  Again, we are waiting for a second opinion.

Yeah, the head seems kinda pointy.  I’ll get Jeff to photo it with a real camera/lens tonight, that should help.

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
Ah, that is that wingless female click beetle!  Wait a sec….Euthysanius lautus is the species, looking at Art Evans’ book, A Field Guide to Beetles of California.  Here’s a link:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/27029
Ok, so I am not sure if E. lautus is the only species with a wingless female….
Thanks!
Eric

Ed. Note:
Interestingly, we have posted images of the male of the species both in our archives and on BugGuide.

Yup!  Here’s one that looks very similar:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/27029/bgimage
Thank you!  Relieved it’s not the world’s largest termite. And they’re slow-moving enough that if I see another one I will hopefully have the guts to trap and release rather than nuking from a safe distance.
However, I’m kind of hoping they stay outside to start with…

Female Click Beetle

Please don’t post this link directly on the website, since it isn’t permanent, but we took some better photos last night in case you or the bugguide could use them at all:
Thanks again for your help!
(I don’t suppose you know what the juveniles look like?  I woke up this morning with a tiny beetle on my pillow.  Probably unrelated, but then again perhaps the invasion has begun!)

Female Click Beetle

Hi again,
Thanks for the additional photos.  Immature Click Beetles are known as Wireworms, and they do not resemble beetles.

Female Click Beetle

 

Letter 15 – Mystery: Click Beetle is Prosternon mirabilis

 

Click Beetle? But what kind?
April 19, 2010
Hello,
We found this unusual looking beetle on April 19, Sierra Nevada Foothills in California. We’ve never seen anything like it in 18 years living here. It has a velvety iridescent copper color with spots and does the classic click and flip when on it’s back like a click beetle. It’s about 1/2″ long. Thanks.
The Sherman Family
37°29′06″N 119°57′59″W / 37.485°N 119.96639°W / 37.485; -119.96639

Unknown Click Beetle

Dear Sherman Family,
We decided to post one last letter before going to bed, but we are not sure we want to spend time researching this species before posting.  It sure is a beauty.  We will try a bit tonight and attempt more searching in the morning.  Meanwhile, we always appreciate assistance from our readership.

Unknown Click Beetle

Eric Eaton provides the answer
Daniel:
I tracked it down!  I’m so proud of myself:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/166340/bgimage
Prosternon mirabilis it is.  Nice click beetle!
Eric

Letter 16 – Ruby Click Beetle from Mexico

 

Subject:  Torquoise headed beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Todos Santos, Mexico
Date: 01/09/2019
Time: 05:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!  This gorgeous fellow tried to bite my husband on our holiday.  I can’t find a pic anywhere of what it might be and was hoping for your help to identify it.
We will enjoy hearing back from you!
Thank you – The Andresen Family
How you want your letter signed:  Kelly Andresen

Ruby Click Beetle

Dear Kelly,
This gorgeous Beetle is a Ruby Click Beetle, and we are curious about the “bite” you mentioned.  Click Beetles are not venomous nor poisonous, and they are not known to “bite” humans, though we recall Eric Eaton stating once that “if it has a mouth, it can bite.”

Wow!  So fun to learn about this guy, thank you!
And regarding the “bite”, the beetle must have been on the back of hubby’s shirt .  He felt a sharp pain on his neck and swept at it as quick as he felt it.  There was no mark that I could see, but it is still good to know they aren’t poisonous!  They sure are pretty!
Thank you again,
Kelly

Letter 17 – Stoneflies and Click Beetle

 

Subject: help what are these bugs???
Location: north haven, ct
July 3, 2013 8:57 pm
there are about 40 of these insects all over our slider door on the outside and all mating with each other.. what are they???
Signature: no preference

Stoneflies and Click Beetle
Stoneflies and Click Beetle

Most of these insects are Stoneflies, but there is a Click Beetle in the upper right hand corner.

Letter 18 – Cucuya or Click Beetle from Ecuador and a Tailless Whipscorpion Too!!!

 

Beetle from Cloud forest in Ecuadorian Andes
Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 8:46 PM
We just got back from Milpe in Ecuador (elevation 1500 meters) and came across this beautiful beetle. Can you ID?
BTW. We saw an almost identical Scorpion bug in the Amazon as the one noted in Thailand. I am attaching pic. Amazing how they can be found in areas so far away from each other.
Mtnchk
Milpe Ecuador

Buprestid? or Elaterid?
Click Beetle: genus Semiotus

Dear Mtnchk,
We not be able to ever get you a definitive species identification on your beetle, but first we need to start with the family. We are not sure if your beetle is a Jewel Beetle (AKA Metallic Wood Boring Beetle) in the family Buprestidae, or a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae. Our first thought was a Buprestid because of the coloration, but the thoracic area has us inclined to speculate that this is an Elaterid. Click Beetles get their common name from their ability to snap their bodies at the junction of the thorax and abdomen. If the beetle finds itself on its back, this ability allows it to right itself by snapping its body against the hard ground, propelling the beetle high into the air and producing an audible clicking sound. Most North American Click Beetles are drab in coloration, but some tropical species are brightly colored. We hope one of our expert contributors will be able to at least narrow the family and perhaps identify the species.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Also, thanks for including your Ecuadorean example of a Tailless Whipscorpion.

Update: from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
It is indeed a click beetle, in the genus Semiotus. The whole genus is quite colorful!
Eric

Dear Daniel,
This is fantastic. I really appreciate your quick and thorough response. What a great website you have and I have actually given you a very positive rating as a new website for “Stumble upon” where I was when I came upon your website. I hope this gives you many more hits which lead to some financial gains- you certainly deserve it!
Mtnchk (Rebecca

Update:
Hi Daniel
It goes by the common name ‘Cucuya’ in Ecuador and it is a click beetle (family Elateridae); probably Semiotus illigeri. It occurs in Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Ecuador. Semiotus is a large neotropical genus with 31 representatives in Ecuador. Images are hard to find but the ‘Natural History Museum of Los Angeles’ has posted a report on the genus that includes numerous distribution maps and excellent color plates (look for Figure 227). Regards.
Karl
http://www.nhm.org/research/publications/Contributions_in_Science/CS514.pdf

Letter 19 – unknown Click Beetle

 

Bug to identify
Hello –
Found this critter outside on the deck in southeastern NC. Thought it was a small bird when he flew. What is it? Also, this one was out there that same night. I’m guessing he’s a mole cricket – but I’m not sure. Thanks!
Ben McCoy

Hi Ben,
That would have to be a very small bird. This is some species of Click Beetle, probably in the subfamily Agrypninae based on images we found on BugGuide. Some species in this subfamily glow. We will see if Eric Eaton agrees with us and can provide additional information. Your other insect is a Mole Cricket.

Letter 20 – Wireworm and Flatbacked Millipede

 

HELP!
Hello! We could really use some help identifying the two bugs below. They were found beneath old logs in Southern Kentucky. Thanks!
Heather Allen

Wireworm Flatbacked Millipede

Hi Heather,
Because today is a California Holiday, C

Update:  May 10, 2015
Today while searching our archives for Wireworm images for a new Wireworm posting, we came across this truncated posting that probably occurred when we did a major site migration many years ago.  At any rate, Wireworms are the larvae of Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.

Letter 21 – Wireworm

 

Dark headed worm-like bug with legs
December 6, 2009
Hello Bugman, I was wondering if you might be able to help me determine what kind of worm or bug this is. I looked through your website but can’t seem to find anything similar to what I’ve found lying on my bathroom and kitchen floor a few times over the last couple weeks. I live in the Southern California city of San Bernardino. The bug is a thin, dark-headed worm like insect with what appears to be four small legs closer to the head of the body. The body is a light tan color, almost transparent-looking. I have found them lying on the floor, usually already dead. We have pine trees, little vegetation, and mostly dirt in our backyard and our next door neighbors have swimming pools. The closest thing I have found on the Internet seems to be the midge fly larvae. Coul d this be it? Thanks for your help!
Volo
San Bernardino, Southern California

Wireworm
Wireworm

Dear Volo,
This is the larva of a Click Beetle, and it is known as a Wireworm.

Letter 22 – Wireworms

 

Subject: I found this orange bug
Location: In a rabbit hole
May 9, 2015 9:52 am
I found these in my rabbit habitat im.Like usually I got ciourious.Do you know what it is?
Signature: From anonymous

Wireworms
Wireworms

Dear anonymous,
We believe these are Wireworms, the larvae of Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.  More information on Wireworms can be found on the Maine Government page.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Wireworm

 

please identify this bug
Location: Sonome County, California
April 18, 2011 3:25 pm
I have found multiple bites on my horse. When searching her stall i found 4 of these creepy things, two in her shavings and two under the rubber mat.
they crawl very fast, I noticed that the last two sections of the body (tail) are dark compared to the rest of the body. 6 legs and what looks like two stingers on the tail.
Signature: Trina

Wireworm

Hi Trina,
This is a beetle larva, and we believe it is a Wireworm, the larva of a Click Beetle.  You can see other photos of Wireworms on BugGuide.  They are usually found in the soil where they eat insects, roots and seeds.  We do not believe they are responsible for the bites on your horse which are much more likely to be caused by flies, especially Horse Flies.  Since we will be out of the office for the rest of the week, we are postdating this entry to go live later in the week.

Wireworm

Letter 2 – Giant Acacia Click Beetle from South Africa

 

Subject:  Unknown beetle/insect
Geographic location of the bug:  South Africa
Date: 03/07/2018
Time: 11:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This beetle/insect (see picture) is by my estimate about 10cm long has wings and its wing beat is loud
How you want your letter signed:  Jacques

Giant Acacia Click Beetle

Dear Jacques,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and though individuals with feathered or pectinate antennae are found in the family, they are not the norm.  We believe it might be the Giant Acacia Click Beetle,
Tetralobus flabellicornis, which is pictured on iSpot

Letter 3 – Flat Wireworm

 

Subject: Identify this bug
Location: DC
July 3, 2017 12:59 pm
I usually see this bugs in the summer. I live in Washington DC
Signature: Now

Flat Wireworm

Dear Now,
We believe we have correctly identified your Click Beetle as a Flat Wireworm,
Aeolus mellillus, thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide, it is found “across NA.”

Letter 4 – Unknown Australian Darkling Beetle

 

March 20, 2010
HI Please can you tell me what type of beetle this is please, iv have only just started getting interested in
bug and insects I’m a cub scout leader so i would like to show the cubs all the pics i take and tel them
about the fly or bug thank you. The beetle was found at Joondalup lake.
many thanks
Stephanie Nolson

Unknown Darkling Beetle

Hi Stephanie,
Before we could even attempt to answer your question, we needed to research where on the planet Joondalup lake is found, and we now know that it is near Perth in Western Australia.  We thought your beetle looked like a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but it is shorter and stouter than most members of that family.  We found some images that are also unidentified on the Life Unseen website page of Australian Click Beetles.  We may be totally wrong, but that is our best guess at the moment.

Daniel:
Definitely a darkling beetle, family Tenebrionidae.  Beyond that I can’t help much, not being very familiar with the Australian fauna.  I will, however, happily accept a year or two sabbatical, expenses paid, to study the insects and arachnids there:-)
Eric

Letter 5 – Magnificent Click Beetle from the Philippines

 

Subject: Click Beetle (Philippines)
Location: Tagaytay City, Luzon, Philippines
May 18, 2013 8:00 pm
Hi Bugman,
As requested, sending you three pics of the click beetle that I saw 2 weekends ago.
Location is Tagaytay City, Luzon, Philippines. Just as an fyi, Tagaytay City is around 2,000 ft. above sea level and has a relatively cool climate.
Here is the video again as well. Hope you can see it this time. If not, I will try another way to send it to you.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=569120633133070&l=4035790639141631968 (select the link, right click on it and choose ” Go to https:\\ … ” .
rgds,
Noel
Signature: Noel Coronel

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Noel,
We are so happy you sent a comment to our Click Beetle from Thailand posting.  We will write more on this later.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

In the original posting, we eventually learned this magnificent Click Beetle is Ocynopterus mucronatus and that Project Noah also places the species in the Philippines.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

 

Letter 6 – Apache Click Beetle

 

Subject: Dark Blue and White Striped Bug.
Location: Mohave Valley, AZ
August 3, 2013 5:55 pm
I hope I succeed in sending you the photo I took several days ago of this strange looking striped bug in Mohave Valley, AZ
Signature: Liz K

Apache Click Beetle
Apache Click Beetle

Hi Liz,
This Apache Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius apacheanus, is sure a lovely specimen.  Click Beetles get their common name from their ability, when they are on their backs, to snap their bodies, flipping over in the air while making an audible “clicking” noise.

Letter 7 – Apache Click Beetle

 

Subject:  I can’t find this on inaturalist
Geographic location of the bug:  Arizona/Sonoran border
Date: 07/27/2019
Time: 01:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  @ Coronado after a couple of rains.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29543844
About 2inches long.Can Fly
BTW, how come I can’t sign in no more?
How you want your letter signed: ptosis

Apache Click Beetle

Dear ptosis,
This gorgeous beetle is an Apache Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius apacheanus, which we identified on BugGuide.  When we posted images of this strikingly beautiful beetle long ago, we pondered the lack of a common name on BugGuide at the time, and we proposed Apache Click Beetle as the common name based on its existing scientific name.  We don’t understand your question:  “BTW, how come I can’t sign in no more?”  Please clarify.

Apache Click Beetle

Letter 8 – Ruby Click Beetle from Baja California Sur, Mexico

 

Subject: Big beetle
Location: Baja California Sur
November 6, 2015 5:01 pm
Can you please tell me what this is? It landed in our backyard in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Signature: Cheryl Connors

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Cheryl,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and it resembles
Ampedus sanguinipennis that is pictured on BugGuide.  We suspect it may be a member of the same genus.

Update:  Ruby Click Beetle
Thanks to a comment from coleopterist Dr. Arthur Evans, we now know that this is the Ruby Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius rubripennis, a species depicted on Whole Sale Insects.

Letter 9 – Corn Wireworm

 

What is this?
Location:  Southern Ohio
October 12, 2010 7:38 pm
We found this little guy (about 1/4”) struggling along on our kitchen floor in a home we just took occupancy of 2 weeks ago. We had some roaches in the basement with the classic long antennae, long body and bug bombed the house before moving in. There’s been only a couple of critters crawling since then, spiders, crickets, etc. But, none that looked remotely like a roach until today, when I took these photos.
Signature:  PestDecide

Corn Wireworm

Dear PestDecide,
WE knew immediately that your beetle was a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but we were prepared for a ponderous search of BugGuide to identify the species.  We quickly found the Corn Wireworm, the common name for the species in the genus
Aeolus which are described on BugGuide.  Your photos are quite unusual in that the contrast and levels appear to have been manipulated which renders the markings on the insect in supersaturated color.

Daniel:
Thank you for the speedy response. You’re absolutely correct that there was some photo rendering. Getting such close ups with my camera, the photos came out rather dark so I increased the gamma correction to lighten up the beetle so the markings could be seen. I do appreciate the quick attention to our question.
Mark Stanton
Franklin, OH

Letter 10 – Fanmail: How to find a Click Beetle

 

find a click beetle
April 6, 2010
Dear Bugman,
I can see that many folks find strange creatures, take a picture, and then ask you to identify the odd looking things.
Though I have used your site numerous times, I truly cringe at almost all of the photos. In fact, there are some, that I can not even bring myself to see. Having said that, I now homeschool three children, and in our studies it is extremely important that they grow to love nature. That includes the bugs. So, with great effort, I overcome my desire to scream and smash, and I gently capture the insects that roam around our home. We admire them and learn about them for a brief time and let them go again. This week, we have found a really nice big black Carpenter Bee! Your site helped us identify it.
So, with the greatest trepidation, I must ask for your help in the reverse. At some point in the past I had an encounter with a click beetle. It was startling, to say the least (remember, I shudder at all bugs), but interesting in how it flips over. I still live in Chandler Arizona USA where I met this click beetle. So now I get to my question….. Could you tell me where to look for another click beetle? My children would be ever so happy to see this little bug, which has also been romanticized in a children’s book by Eric Carle (which by the way is how I came to know what the bug was that I had encountered). Any ideas of where to look for these? Thanks in advance for any information you could share.
Michelle and her three kiddies
P.S. Chandler AZ is southeast of Phoenix, in the valley, and we live in a subdivision with lizards, geckos, black widows,lots of ants, but no scorpions (thankfully).

Dear Michelle,
Click Beetles are often attracted to lights, so you can try leaving the porch light on to see what arrives.

Letter 11 – Graboid, Grub, or Something Else??? Wireworm Perhaps!!!

 

beetle larvae?
Hi, I’ve been bugging on and off for around 40 years but I have never seen one of these before. It’s about an inch long and found it in the dry Texas hill country. It moves very slow so I don’t see how it could catch anything but looks predatory to me, maybe it sits and waits? I know it’s a larvae but of what species, I don’t know. Do you know what this thing is?

Discounting the possibility that this is a Graboid from the movie Tremors, we believe a Beetle Grub is a good possibility, but we are not sure what. It could be subterranean, like the Graboids, which would make it a more effective predator than it is above ground. We are contacting Eric Eaton to see what he thinks.

Ha, ..Graboid.. Well I know your not seeing it in person but you’d see that it’s not a common grub. I noticed too that it has a feature underneath very close to the back end that it probably uses to anchor down and probably helps it crawl through holes, maybe those to finger-like things help it stay anchored too if it catches something at the entrance of a hole, ..speculating a lot there. I guess I’ll hang on to it and see what it turns into if we can’t find more info. Thanks a lot!
David
I was wondering if it was a larvae of a Pasimachus species, maybe something like Pasimachus elongatus? …I can’t find of pic of a larvae of one of those.

Update: (07/02/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
Wow, a couple real challenges! I suspect the grub is a soil-encrusted “wireworm,” the larva of a large click beetle, family Elateridae, but I can’t be positive. Looks like it has two prongs coming out the hind end which would be peculiar for wireworms….
Eric

Letter 12 – Green Click Beetle

 

What’s This Bug?
August 2, 2011 7:58 AM
this is a beetle in a pine forest in missoula, montana.
thank you!
c.

Green Click Beetle

Hi Clare,
We are relatively confident that we have identified your Click Beetle as a Green Click Beetle,
Nitidolimonius resplendens, based on images posted to BugGuide, which lists the habitat as:  “variously-aged coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests; on poplar (Populus), willow (Salix), or on shrubs; adults often found on the spring growth of conifers along margins of wetlands and drainages.”  The only sightings reported from BugGuide are in Alaska, Alberta Canada and New Hampshire.

Letter 13 – Green Click Beetle from Alaska

 

Subject: Two interesting and beautiful bugs in Alaska
Location: Near Fairbanks Alaska
June 5, 2016 5:20 pm
Hello bugperson,
In the past week I have found two beautiful insects around our home in Fairbanks Alaska. I have looked through your site and also consulted Dr. Google, but have not yet been able to figure out what they might be. The yellowish metallic beetle is on an apple leaf. It was perhaps a half inch long. …  Thanks for any help you can give me.
Signature: bugalaska

Green Click Beetle
Green Click Beetle

Dear bugalaska,
Your second beetle is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and we quickly identified it as a Green Click Beetle,
Nitidolimonius resplendens, thanks to a BugGuide posting where it is described as “The head, pronotum and underside are metallic purple and the elytra and legs are metallic green most of the time, but with a change in the light angle, the elytra edges turn purple. At other angles, the beetle is black, especially the underside, so it’s very hard to photograph.”  According to BugGuide, the habitat is:  “variously-aged coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests; on poplar (Populus), willow (Salix), or on shrubs; adults often found on the spring growth of conifers along margins of wetlands and drainages; boreomontane forest, prairie and parkland poplar groves; larvae in leaf litter and rotting wood.”

Thank you so much for the identification and got all the additional information!  You provide such a wonderful service to bug fanciers everywhere!

Letter 14 – Larviform Beetle, but what family??? Female Click Beetle

 

Queen something?
Location: Pasadena, California
June 20, 2011 11:24 am
Found this crawling across the floor of my kitchen this morning, sort of trundling along dragging its long rear end behind it. About 3” long. Photos taken after it was thoroughly drowned in RAID….
Signature: Creeped Out

Female Click Beetle

Dear Creeped Out,
While we are not certain of the exact identity of this unfortunate creature, we are relatively certain of two things.  First, it appears to be a beetle in the order Coleoptera, and second, it is probably predatory and drowning it with Raid constitutes Unnecessary Carnage.  We are not certain if this is a larva.  We feel more confident that it is a larviform adult.  Females of some beetles resemble larvae.  This might be a Rove Beetle in the family Staphylinidae, or perhaps it is a female Glowworm in the family Phengodidae, or perhaps it is something we are not considering.  We are going to try to get a second opinion on this creature.

Several of my friends suggested termite queen… so, glad it’s not that, at least. 🙂
Sorry about the unnecessary carnage. I’ll try to have my husband take some better pictures when he gets home tonight (I left the bug under a plastic cup in case the RAID didn’t actally kill it.  Yes, I’m that squeamish about bugs.)  ;P

Hmmm.  Termite Queen might actually be correct in which case we would retract the Unnecessary Carnage tag.  The antennae don’t seem correct for a Termite.  Again, we are waiting for a second opinion.

Yeah, the head seems kinda pointy.  I’ll get Jeff to photo it with a real camera/lens tonight, that should help.

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
Ah, that is that wingless female click beetle!  Wait a sec….Euthysanius lautus is the species, looking at Art Evans’ book, A Field Guide to Beetles of California.  Here’s a link:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/27029
Ok, so I am not sure if E. lautus is the only species with a wingless female….
Thanks!
Eric

Ed. Note:
Interestingly, we have posted images of the male of the species both in our archives and on BugGuide.

Yup!  Here’s one that looks very similar:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/27029/bgimage
Thank you!  Relieved it’s not the world’s largest termite. And they’re slow-moving enough that if I see another one I will hopefully have the guts to trap and release rather than nuking from a safe distance.
However, I’m kind of hoping they stay outside to start with…

Female Click Beetle

Please don’t post this link directly on the website, since it isn’t permanent, but we took some better photos last night in case you or the bugguide could use them at all:
Thanks again for your help!
(I don’t suppose you know what the juveniles look like?  I woke up this morning with a tiny beetle on my pillow.  Probably unrelated, but then again perhaps the invasion has begun!)

Female Click Beetle

Hi again,
Thanks for the additional photos.  Immature Click Beetles are known as Wireworms, and they do not resemble beetles.

Female Click Beetle

 

Letter 15 – Mystery: Click Beetle is Prosternon mirabilis

 

Click Beetle? But what kind?
April 19, 2010
Hello,
We found this unusual looking beetle on April 19, Sierra Nevada Foothills in California. We’ve never seen anything like it in 18 years living here. It has a velvety iridescent copper color with spots and does the classic click and flip when on it’s back like a click beetle. It’s about 1/2″ long. Thanks.
The Sherman Family
37°29′06″N 119°57′59″W / 37.485°N 119.96639°W / 37.485; -119.96639

Unknown Click Beetle

Dear Sherman Family,
We decided to post one last letter before going to bed, but we are not sure we want to spend time researching this species before posting.  It sure is a beauty.  We will try a bit tonight and attempt more searching in the morning.  Meanwhile, we always appreciate assistance from our readership.

Unknown Click Beetle

Eric Eaton provides the answer
Daniel:
I tracked it down!  I’m so proud of myself:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/166340/bgimage
Prosternon mirabilis it is.  Nice click beetle!
Eric

Letter 16 – Ruby Click Beetle from Mexico

 

Subject:  Torquoise headed beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Todos Santos, Mexico
Date: 01/09/2019
Time: 05:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!  This gorgeous fellow tried to bite my husband on our holiday.  I can’t find a pic anywhere of what it might be and was hoping for your help to identify it.
We will enjoy hearing back from you!
Thank you – The Andresen Family
How you want your letter signed:  Kelly Andresen

Ruby Click Beetle

Dear Kelly,
This gorgeous Beetle is a Ruby Click Beetle, and we are curious about the “bite” you mentioned.  Click Beetles are not venomous nor poisonous, and they are not known to “bite” humans, though we recall Eric Eaton stating once that “if it has a mouth, it can bite.”

Wow!  So fun to learn about this guy, thank you!
And regarding the “bite”, the beetle must have been on the back of hubby’s shirt .  He felt a sharp pain on his neck and swept at it as quick as he felt it.  There was no mark that I could see, but it is still good to know they aren’t poisonous!  They sure are pretty!
Thank you again,
Kelly

Letter 17 – Stoneflies and Click Beetle

 

Subject: help what are these bugs???
Location: north haven, ct
July 3, 2013 8:57 pm
there are about 40 of these insects all over our slider door on the outside and all mating with each other.. what are they???
Signature: no preference

Stoneflies and Click Beetle
Stoneflies and Click Beetle

Most of these insects are Stoneflies, but there is a Click Beetle in the upper right hand corner.

Letter 18 – Cucuya or Click Beetle from Ecuador and a Tailless Whipscorpion Too!!!

 

Beetle from Cloud forest in Ecuadorian Andes
Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 8:46 PM
We just got back from Milpe in Ecuador (elevation 1500 meters) and came across this beautiful beetle. Can you ID?
BTW. We saw an almost identical Scorpion bug in the Amazon as the one noted in Thailand. I am attaching pic. Amazing how they can be found in areas so far away from each other.
Mtnchk
Milpe Ecuador

Buprestid? or Elaterid?
Click Beetle: genus Semiotus

Dear Mtnchk,
We not be able to ever get you a definitive species identification on your beetle, but first we need to start with the family. We are not sure if your beetle is a Jewel Beetle (AKA Metallic Wood Boring Beetle) in the family Buprestidae, or a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae. Our first thought was a Buprestid because of the coloration, but the thoracic area has us inclined to speculate that this is an Elaterid. Click Beetles get their common name from their ability to snap their bodies at the junction of the thorax and abdomen. If the beetle finds itself on its back, this ability allows it to right itself by snapping its body against the hard ground, propelling the beetle high into the air and producing an audible clicking sound. Most North American Click Beetles are drab in coloration, but some tropical species are brightly colored. We hope one of our expert contributors will be able to at least narrow the family and perhaps identify the species.

Tailless Whipscorpion
Tailless Whipscorpion

Also, thanks for including your Ecuadorean example of a Tailless Whipscorpion.

Update: from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
It is indeed a click beetle, in the genus Semiotus. The whole genus is quite colorful!
Eric

Dear Daniel,
This is fantastic. I really appreciate your quick and thorough response. What a great website you have and I have actually given you a very positive rating as a new website for “Stumble upon” where I was when I came upon your website. I hope this gives you many more hits which lead to some financial gains- you certainly deserve it!
Mtnchk (Rebecca

Update:
Hi Daniel
It goes by the common name ‘Cucuya’ in Ecuador and it is a click beetle (family Elateridae); probably Semiotus illigeri. It occurs in Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Ecuador. Semiotus is a large neotropical genus with 31 representatives in Ecuador. Images are hard to find but the ‘Natural History Museum of Los Angeles’ has posted a report on the genus that includes numerous distribution maps and excellent color plates (look for Figure 227). Regards.
Karl
http://www.nhm.org/research/publications/Contributions_in_Science/CS514.pdf

Letter 19 – unknown Click Beetle

 

Bug to identify
Hello –
Found this critter outside on the deck in southeastern NC. Thought it was a small bird when he flew. What is it? Also, this one was out there that same night. I’m guessing he’s a mole cricket – but I’m not sure. Thanks!
Ben McCoy

Hi Ben,
That would have to be a very small bird. This is some species of Click Beetle, probably in the subfamily Agrypninae based on images we found on BugGuide. Some species in this subfamily glow. We will see if Eric Eaton agrees with us and can provide additional information. Your other insect is a Mole Cricket.

Letter 20 – Wireworm and Flatbacked Millipede

 

HELP!
Hello! We could really use some help identifying the two bugs below. They were found beneath old logs in Southern Kentucky. Thanks!
Heather Allen

Wireworm Flatbacked Millipede

Hi Heather,
Because today is a California Holiday, C

Update:  May 10, 2015
Today while searching our archives for Wireworm images for a new Wireworm posting, we came across this truncated posting that probably occurred when we did a major site migration many years ago.  At any rate, Wireworms are the larvae of Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.

Letter 21 – Wireworm

 

Dark headed worm-like bug with legs
December 6, 2009
Hello Bugman, I was wondering if you might be able to help me determine what kind of worm or bug this is. I looked through your website but can’t seem to find anything similar to what I’ve found lying on my bathroom and kitchen floor a few times over the last couple weeks. I live in the Southern California city of San Bernardino. The bug is a thin, dark-headed worm like insect with what appears to be four small legs closer to the head of the body. The body is a light tan color, almost transparent-looking. I have found them lying on the floor, usually already dead. We have pine trees, little vegetation, and mostly dirt in our backyard and our next door neighbors have swimming pools. The closest thing I have found on the Internet seems to be the midge fly larvae. Coul d this be it? Thanks for your help!
Volo
San Bernardino, Southern California

Wireworm
Wireworm

Dear Volo,
This is the larva of a Click Beetle, and it is known as a Wireworm.

Letter 22 – Wireworms

 

Subject: I found this orange bug
Location: In a rabbit hole
May 9, 2015 9:52 am
I found these in my rabbit habitat im.Like usually I got ciourious.Do you know what it is?
Signature: From anonymous

Wireworms
Wireworms

Dear anonymous,
We believe these are Wireworms, the larvae of Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.  More information on Wireworms can be found on the Maine Government page.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

15 thoughts on “Click Beetles Demystified: Key Facts Summarized for Easy Understanding”

  1. I think it is a tenebrio molitor. Although a bit stubbier, he looks a lot like some of mine that I have been breeding from the same batch for 20 years, with only the occasional addition of a few newcomer worms. I call them fat guys when they look like this. Judging by the dark colour he is quite old. Interestingly, I live in Sydney, however my beetles’ great(to the power of 20)grandparents were from Perth. I started this family when I lived there there. I brought them over Qantas more than 3000Km. And they reckon they can’t fly! Most strange luggage it was.
    Perhaps mine have this W.A. mutation in their genes which pops up quite often.
    Believe it or not they are pets and sit next to me at my computer. I love watching their year long life cycle. Good luck with your scouts and bug spotting!

    Reply
    • Dear Buzzy,
      Thanks for your posting. We will provide a link to Tenebrio molitor, the Common Mealworm, to provide additional information. Though we are not certain your identification is correct, both are Darlking Beetles.

      Reply
  2. Ah, if you think the ID is wrong – good point. Actually, never thought of it but now ..there’s every chance I have two types of beetles. I lived near Joondalup and they’ve always been in an open container. Maybe some interlopers joined the party for the free feed and general spoiling all those years ago.
    I’ve not noticed much difference between the mealworms though, only when the beetles mature. Do you think it’s possible for two to live together so amicably for decades? Or could they even interbreed?
    Hmm… faskinatin’ ! Thanks for answering.

    Reply
  3. looks like a common fauls wire beatle otherwise known as black lawn bugs you really don’t want them in your lawn cos they eat the roots and can kill the whole lawn very quickly

    Reply

Leave a Comment