Where Do Click Beetles Live: Exploring Their Habitats and Behavior

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Click beetles are fascinating insects known for their unique clicking mechanism, which allows them to flip into the air as a defense strategy against predators. You might have encountered these intriguing creatures in your garden or on a woodland walk. But where do these critters actually call home?

These beetles tend to live in habitats with decaying wood where they can find an abundant food source for their larvae, known as wireworms. Some examples of these habitats include forests, meadows, gardens, and agricultural fields Eastern Eyed Click Beetle.

As you explore the world of click beetles, you’ll discover that their habitat varies depending on the species. For instance, the eastern eyed click beetle can be found throughout South Carolina and other parts of the United States. So, the next time you stumble upon a click beetle, take a moment to appreciate its unique lifestyle and habitat.

Home of Click Beetles

Global Distribution

Click beetles can be found all around the world, especially in North America. These fascinating insects live in a variety of habitats, such as soil, rotting logs, and forests 1.

In North America, one common species is the eyed click beetle, which resides in deciduous forests. The larvae of this species grow in decaying logs, preying on longhorn beetle grubs 2.

Here are some examples of where click beetles thrive:

  • Soil
  • Rotting logs
  • Deciduous forests

You’ll find that click beetles are quite adaptable and able to live in various environments. So, if you’re exploring the great outdoors, keep an eye out for these intriguing insects!

Physical Appearance

Size and Color

Click beetles come in a variety of colors such as black, brown, red, white, yellow, and tan. Their size ranges depending on the species, but smaller species are about 1/4 inch long.

Body Characteristics

These beetles have a unique body shape which is elongated, somewhat flattened, and parallel-sided. What makes them easily recognizable are the backward projections on the side corners of the shield behind their head, known as the pronotum. Adult click beetles may also have shiny, textured surfaces.

To help you better understand the different features of click beetles, here’s a list of their characteristics:

  • Elongated and parallel-sided body
  • Variety of colors such as black, brown, red, white, yellow, and tan
  • Smaller species being around 1/4 inch long
  • Backward projections on the pronotum
  • Shiny, textured surfaces on some adult beetles

In comparison to other beetles, click beetles are easily identifiable due to their distinct body characteristics and unique features. Remember to keep an eye out for their colors, size, and the projections on their pronotum when trying to spot a click beetle.

Click Beetles at Night

Nocturnal Behavior

Click beetles are known for their nocturnal behavior, making them more active during the night. Throughout the evening, you might find them:

  • Searching for food
  • Mating
  • Defending their territories

These nocturnal insects are crafty in their behavior, which may attract your curiosity.

Light Attraction

Like many insects, click beetles are attracted to light during the night. Consequently, you may encounter them:

  • Near windows
  • Around doors
  • On screens

Sometimes, you might spot click beetles with a unique feature: bioluminescence. For example, glowing click beetles emit light through specialized organs, drawing attention and fascinating observers.

Keep in mind that if you want to observe these mesmerizing beetles, it’s best to be out during the night, with a source of light nearby to attract them. But remember, they’re harmless to you and your surroundings, so enjoy their presence and marvel at their unique characteristics.

The Lifecycle of a Click Beetle

Reproduction Process

Click beetles mate to reproduce, and the females lay their eggs in a suitable environment for the larvae to thrive. Typically, this includes soil or rotting logs1. The eggs hatch into worm-like larvae called wireworms2.

Growth from Larvae to Adult

The life cycle of click beetles consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult3. The larvae, known as wireworms, are usually hard-bodied, brownish, and cylindrical4. They live, feed, and grow for 1 to 4 years in their natural environment5, developing through several molting stages before pupating and transforming into their adult form6.

Adult click beetles are elongated, range in length from 6.4 to 19.1 mm, and most are uniformly brown to black in color7. They have a unique pair of spurs and sometimes display colorful markings on their thorax8. Interestingly, they can bend their bodies and suddenly straighten out to propel themselves into the air. This motion produces a distinctive “click” sound9.

In a nutshell, the lifecycle of a click beetle involves its transformation from an egg to a wireworm larva, followed by the pupation stage, and ultimately reaching its adult form. During their life, click beetles consume various forms of plant material, contributing to the ecosystem as decomposers and nutrient recyclers10.

Click Beetles and Humans

Pest Control

Click beetles, belonging to the family Elateridae, can become a nuisance to humans when they infest yards, gardens, and even homes. As pests, their larvae (called wireworms) are particularly harmful to various crops like wheat, corn, cotton, and grains1. If you suspect a click beetle infestation, consult an entomologist or a pest control professional for proper identification and management options.

One common method for controlling click beetle populations is the use of pesticides2. However, you must be cautious when using such products, as they can also impact beneficial insects. Always follow the label instructions and consult with a professional if needed.

Example: A pesticide containing the active ingredient carbaryl can be useful in controlling click beetle populations3.

Comparison Table:

Pesticide Active Ingredient Target Pests Advantages Disadvantages
Example Carbaryl Click beetles Effective Non-selective

Prevention and Management

Preventing a click beetle infestation begins with good yard and garden maintenance. Keep your gardens free from debris and weeds, as this can help reduce their potential hiding spots4. In your crops, consider employing crop rotation and the addition of beneficial insects like ladybugs to keep click beetles in check5. Pheromone traps can also be used to monitor and reduce their population6.

If click beetles enter your home, try to seal any potential entry points like cracks and gaps. Ensure proper ventilation, reduce humidity, and promptly replace damaged wood, as these measures can help create an unfavorable environment for these insects7.

To recap, here are some prevention and management tips:

  • Maintain clean yards and gardens.
  • Use crop rotation and beneficial insects in gardens and crops.
  • Install pheromone traps to monitor and reduce click beetle populations.
  • Seal entry points, ensure proper ventilation, and reduce humidity in homes.

Click Beetles and the Ecosystem

Prey and Predators

Click beetles are a part of the ecosystem, playing a vital role in the food chain. They are known to feed on various organisms like aphids and other insects. They also consume flowers, aiding in the pollination process. On the other hand, they serve as a food source for predators like birds and small mammals. For example, eastern eyed click beetles have large spots on their thorax that resemble eyes, helping to deter potential predators.

Impact on Soil and Agriculture

The larvae of click beetles, known as wireworms, have a significant impact on both soil and agriculture. Wireworms can be beneficial in that they help break down organic matter, thus improving soil texture. However, they can also pose a threat to plants, as they feed on roots, seeds, and stem bases, causing damage to crops.

Types of wireworms:

  • Predatory
  • Herbivorous
Predatory Wireworms Herbivorous Wireworms
Feed on other insects Feed on plant roots
Beneficial to soil life Damaging to crops
Less harmful to plants Higher risk to agriculture

In small numbers, wireworms may not be too concerning, but when their populations increase, they can cause substantial damage to crops. To manage and control their numbers in agriculture, various approaches are utilized, including monitoring, prevention, and targeted treatments against them.

In conclusion, click beetles play a crucial role in ecosystems as both prey and predators. Additionally, their larvae, the wireworms, interact with soil and agriculture, contributing to the ecological balance. But they can also harm crops, and on the agricultural side, these pests require careful monitoring and management for the success of farming systems.

The Click Beetle Family

Elateridae and Eucnemidae

Click beetles belong to the Elateridae family, which is part of the larger Coleoptera order. They are closely related to the Eucnemidae family. Both families share similarities in their body structure and behavior. Here are a few key features of click beetles:

  • Cylindrical or elongated body shape
  • Hardened protective wings
  • Ability to “click” and launch themselves into the air
  • Nocturnal behavior

Famous Species

Alaus oculatus: The Eyed Click Beetle

One famous and easily recognizable species is the Eastern eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus). This unique beetle is found throughout South Carolina and notable for its striking appearance. You’ll easily identify it by its:

  • Large size, sometimes up to 1.5 inches in length
  • Black body color with white spots
  • Large, distinctive eye spots on its back

But don’t worry, these large eye spots are not real eyes – they serve as a defense mechanism to confuse predators. Also, you can be confident that Alaus oculatus and other click beetles pose no harm to humans or pets.

Deilater: Another fascinating genus within the Elateridae family is Deilater. These beetles display similar characteristics to other click beetles but are often found in tropical regions.

So, as you explore the world of click beetles, you’ll notice that both the Elateridae and Eucnemidae families showcase a diverse range of fascinating species. Their unique clicking abilities and captivating appearance make them a truly intriguing part of the insect world.

Unique Characteristics

Clicking Mechanism

Click beetles, also known as snapping beetles, spring beetles, or skipjacks, have a fascinating clicking mechanism. This enables them to make a clicking sound and perform swift movements. You may have come across these beetles flipping into the air with a sudden snap.

How does this work? The click is generated when the beetle arches its body and uses a spine on its prosternum to engage a notch on the mesosternum. When the tension is released, energy is set free, propelling the beetle into the air. This mechanism is perfect for escaping predators or getting back on its feet when it’s turned over.

Bioluminescence

Some click beetle species exhibit bioluminescence, which is the ability to produce light in the dark. Bioluminescent click beetles can emit a green or yellow glow from their bodies. You may have noticed these beautiful displays at night in wooded areas, lawns, or crossing paths on warm evenings.

Certain bioluminescent click beetle species can be found in the Southern United States, Central, and South America. These fascinating creatures produce their ‘glow’ through a process called chemiluminescence, where the light is generated through a chemical reaction between an enzyme called luciferase and a substrate called luciferin.

In closing, click beetles have their unique features like the clicking mechanism and bioluminescence, which make them captivating to observe in their natural habitats. Remember to appreciate their intriguing characteristics if you happen to encounter one on your outdoor adventures.

Future Research Directions

In recent years, research on click beetles has gained momentum, but there are still many areas that need further exploration. Here are some potential future research directions.

One area that requires more investigation is the habitat preferences of click beetles. Understanding where they tend to live and their preferred environments can help us better protect their populations and ecosystems. For example, some species may thrive in forest environments, while others prefer grasslands or even urban landscapes.

Another significant avenue of research is their role in the ecosystem. Click beetles are known to feed on a variety of insects and invertebrates, such as caterpillars, becoming natural predators in certain environments. Future studies could explore how click beetles contribute to controlling pest populations.

Additionally, understanding their lifecycles, including their mating habits and reproductive success, can provide valuable insight into their population dynamics. Comparing these factors between different species of click beetles may reveal essential differences and similarities.

Here are some features of click beetles worth investigating in future research:

  • Habitat preferences
  • Role in the ecosystem
  • Lifecycle and reproduction
  • Variations between species

In conclusion, there is still much to discover about click beetles, from understanding their habitat preferences to uncovering their role in ecosystems. By conducting further studies, we can improve our knowledge of these fascinating insects and better protect their populations for the future.

Footnotes

  1. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/click-beetles 2 3

  2. https://extension.entomology.tamu.edu/insects/click-beetle/ 2 3

  3. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/click-beetles 2

  4. https://extension.entomology.tamu.edu/insects/click-beetle/ 2

  5. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/click-beetles 2

  6. https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/pubs_ext_vt_edu/en/3104/3104-1575/3104-1575.html 2

  7. https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/pubs_ext_vt_edu/en/3104/3104-1575/3104-1575.html 2

  8. https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/diseases/click_beetles

  9. https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/diseases/click_beetles

  10. http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Elateridae/

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 – Click Beetle from Thailand

 

identify
Location: north east thailand
November 17, 2011 6:40 pm
Saw this on the floor of an apartment block in the issarn region of thailand.Namely udon thani a city less than twenty miles form the border of Laos,It mainly agicultural and rice growing in the region..
found this in the dry season,March to may, but not 100% cklear on that,but it was four yrs ago
Signature: andy

Click Beetle

Hi Andy,
This is definitely a Beetle, but beyond that, we are stumped.  Generally we are able to at least provide a family for beetles, but there are so many physical attributes that are distinctive on this beetle that we have not seen combined in this manner.  The pectinate (see BugGuide) are probably the most distinctive feature, but the spined thorax and narrow waist connecting to the abdomen is also quite unique.  Many beetles in the superfamily Elateroidea (See BugGuide for North American examples) have similar antennae and thoracic features, including some of the Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.  At first glance, we thought this might be a Prionid, but the thorax structure seems to negate that possibility.  We need additional time to research and perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this challenging identification.  We could not locate it on ThaiBugs.  Can you recall the size of this creature?

Unknown Beetle from Thailand

Immediate Update:
After posting we looked again at the ThaiBugs site and found a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae that looks close.  It is “unidentified and in need of a shave” and pictured as a thumbnail near the bottom of the page.

Daniel:
Yes, a click beetle!  I believe this one is Oxynopterus mucronatus, or at least something very closely related.  Thanks for sharing!
Eric

Thanks Eric,
We found matching images on Project Noah and the Click Beetles of the Palearctic Region website.

Hi daniel was about an inch long. dificult to gauge the with from memory.But remember being fascinated by the antenae type and size,which was noticably wider than the body.
Andy

 

Letter 2 – Beetle from Malaysia might be Click Beetle

 

What insect is this?
Location: Malaysia
March 10, 2011 1:32 pm
My friend found this at his house. no idea what this is. can you help identify it?
Signature: Michelle

Possibly Click Beetle

Hi Michelle,
This beetle sure has nice feathery antennae.  At first we thought it might be a Click Beetle, though most Click Beetles do not have such plumose antennaeOur 10,000th posting in May 2010 was a very similar looking beetle from Hawaii.  That beetle as well as your beetle might be
Callirhipis cardwellensis which may be seen on Flickr.

Letter 3 – Bug of the Month May 2011: Unknown Black Click Beetle

 

April 29, 2011
Last night while posting to the website, Daniel felt something crawling on his neck, and it was this gorgeous large black Click Beetle.  This is the second time this beetle has been found in our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices, and the first sighting was almost exactly two years ago.   Recently while planting walnuts in nearby Elyria Canyon Park, a large Wireworm was uncovered in the dirt.  Sadly, there does not seem to be a match on BugGuide.  Species in the genus
Lanelater are not listed in California on BugGuide, and we thought we might have an identification with the California species Melanectes densus, but that species seems broader with different antennae than our little beauty.  It seems a bit tragic that we are unable to identify our own species of Click Beetle, but perhaps Mardikavana or one of our other beetle aficionados will be able to provide an identification.

We kept this beauty on the kitchen table under a glass until there was natural morning light for an indoor portrait and we later release it after taking some outdoor images as well.

Letter 4 – Arboreal Click Beetle in Mount Washington

 

Arboreal Click Beetle
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 25, 2015 5:51 PM

Another regular seasonal visitor came to our porch light this past week, an Arboreal Click Beetle with feathered antennae that we have been informed is in the genus Euthysanius.  This particular individual could not right itself, and we suspect is was somehow injured when we found it on our front porch.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae may be predators or feed in rotting wood (not yet known).”

Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle

Letter 5 – Argentine Click Beetle

 

Beetle in Argentina
We found this bug in a forest in the Province of Entre Ríos, Argentina. We couldn’t identify it, and it doesn’t appear in your beetles pages. Can you please tell us what it is? Thanks. Gabriel, Matias & Andrés

Dear Gabriel, Matias & Andrés,
We believe this is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae. Many members of this family can right themselves when they fall on their backs by snapping their bodies and flipping in the air. This produces a clicking sound hence the popular name. Eric Eaton wrote in: ” The Argentine click beetle is most likely in the genus Chalcolepidius. Great specimen!”

Letter 6 – Beetle from Paraguay: Click Beetle

 

Paraguay bugs
Hi
Ive attached a pair of photos of Paraguayan bugs. The Mbaracayu one I am not even convinced is a heteropteran at all, but do you know what it is and what family it belongs to? If you have time could you please quickly check out our page www.faunaparaguay.com/heteroptera.html and make sure that our images are correctly classified! I am a bit unsure especially about the Pyrrhocorids! By the way we have tonnes of unclassified Coleopteran images too if you fancy turning your hand to them www.faunaparaguay.com/coleoptera.html and orthopterans www.faunaparaguay.com/orthoptera.html Great site by the way and please feel free to use any of the photos from the website for yours! Best wishes
Paul

Hi Paul,
We are linking back to the pages you indicated as well as the Fauna of Paraguay home page. What a marvelous website. Of the two images you sent to us, only one is a True Bug, and it is not distinctive enough for us to even attempt a proper identification. The Mbaracayu image is a beetle. It is our best guess that it is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae, though it may be a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.

Update: (11/05/2007)
Daniel:
Congrats on the outcome of the journalism conferences! Nice to hear good news. The beetle from Paraguay is a click beetle (Elateridae), though I’m not sure which genus. Keep up the great work.
Eric

Letter 7 – Click Beetle: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

 

Subject: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus
Location: Santa Rita Mountain Foothills
March 19, 2014 10:58 am
For You bugman!
These picutres of Chalcolepidius smaragdinus were taken along the road running through the foothills leading up to the Santa Rita Mountains. They were found on Baccharis sarothroides along Madera Canyon Road in AZ, August 17, 2009. The beetles feed on the oozing sap from the plant.
Signature: swampyy82

Click Beetle
Click Beetles:  Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

Dear swampyy82,
Thank you so much for supplying our site with your images of this gorgeous green Click Beetle, a new species for our archives.  BugGuide does not provide much information on this species, so your observations are quite valuable.

Click Beetle:  Chalcolepidius smaragdinus
Click Beetle: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

It’s my pleasure bugman!  Any pic You want, just let me know.  They were quite numerous the year I collected them.  I took 5 for my collection even though there were many more.  That road has been pillage greatly over the years and some years when I’m out West, we see none at all.  Chalcolepidius lenzi is also found in this area.  My collecting buddy has one, but, I don’t yet.

 

Letter 8 – Click Beetle from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Is this a click beetle
Location: Costa rica
March 2, 2016 6:56 am
I saw this in the rain forest near limon in Costa rica. I think its a click beetle.
Signature: James Roberts

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear James,
This really is a pretty Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We believe we have correctly identified it as Semiotus insignis on the South Dakota State University site where the range is listed as “Mexico; Guatemala; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; Panama.”  Clicking on the thumbnail produces this enlargement.  We found several other images of mounted specimens online, including this individual for sale on BugManiac, but we couldn’t locate a single image of a living individual.  That makes your submission unique on the web, at least for an identified individual.

Letter 9 – Click Beetle from Costa Rica: Chalcolepidius bomplandi

 

Subject: Click Beetle
Location: Northern Costa RIca
June 24, 2013 8:15 pm
Hi, I was trying to identify a click beetle that I found on my front door. Upon searching I found an image in your archives, 2006/04/17/argentine-click-beetle/, of the the same species (at least it seemed the same to me). I identified it as Chalcolepidius limbatus, but upon further searching it seems that that species may only be from South America and my click beetle is from Costa Rica. So I found a almost identical looking beetle identified as C. bomplandi that supposedly is found here in Costa Rica. So I guess what I’m asking is if someone out there knows enough about click beetles to confirm or correct my ID’s?
Signature: Siggy

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Siggy,
We cannot say for certain that your Click Beetle is
Chalcolepidius bomplandi, but we do concur that it does greatly resemble that Costa Rican species which we found pictured on the South Dakota State University website which has a key to the species in the genus Chalcolepidius.  Your photos are quite lovely, but we had to crop and resize them for the internet which necessitated moving your name in the digital file.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle
Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

Letter 10 – Click Beetle from Ghana

 

Subject:  Beetle in Northern Ghana
Geographic location of the bug:  Tomale, Ghana Africa (Northern Ghana)
Date: 03/30/2019
Time: 12:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My sister is in the Peace Corps in Northern Ghana, and woke up to this beetle crawling on her in the early morning hours. She is not sure what it is, and we can’t seem to find anything online. Can you help us identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Sister in the States

Click Beetle

Dear Sister in the States,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and its antennae are quite distinctive.  It looks very similar to this Click Beetle from Uganda that we posted many years ago.

Letter 11 – Click Beetle from Mexico

 

Subject:  jewel beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  San Jose del Cabo, BCS, Mexico
Date: 09/06/2018
Time: 05:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please identify this beetle? It’s about 1.5 inches long
Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Hubbard

Ruby Click Beetle

Dear Mike,
While this is NOT a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, it is a beetle with a jewel mentioned in its common name.  It is a Ruby Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius rubripennis.  The Ruby Click Beetle is well represented on iNaturalist

Ruby Click Beetle

Letter 12 – Click Beetle from Nicaragua

 

Jumping beetle
Location: Nicaragua, Managua, El Crucero ( 12° 3’45.68”N – 86°18’51.68”W)
January 30, 2012 5:49 pm
Dear Bugman,
This beetle emits a click sound when movin violently its head, the movement makes the beetle to jump a few centimeters high.
Signature: Sergiortc

Click Beetle

Dear Sergiotc,
The audible clicking sound this beetle makes has given rise to the common name Click Beetles for the members of the family Elateridae.  Click Beetles are able to flex their bodies at the joint between the thorax and abdomen if they ever find themselves on their backs.  The action propels them into the air and they generally land on their feet after the first attempt.

Letter 13 – Click Beetle from Peru: Semiotus sanguinicollis

 

Subject: Click Beetle??
Location: Blancio Claylick, Madre de Dios, Peru
March 12, 2013 8:32 am
Is it possible to id this beetle (Click beetle??) to specie-level?
Photo taken November 9, 2009
Signature: Kristian

Click Beetle
Click Beetle:  Semiotus sanguinicollis

Hi Kristian,
Wow, this is a beautiful beetle, and we agree that it appears to be a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We don’t know if we will be able to come up with a species ID as the morning is passing and we must catch a train.  We found a match identified as
Semiotus sp, but we are having trouble linking to the siteInsect Sale lists it as Semiotus sanguinicollis.  The University of South Dakota website confirms that the genus is correct.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle: Semiotus sanguinicollis

Letter 14 – Click Beetle from Scotland: Ctenicera pectinicornis

 

Subject: Is this a click beetle?
Location: United Kingdom
May 19, 2014 2:38 pm
Hello, here’s my picture of a beetle that I would like help identifying. I think it is a click beetle of some sort – and as you can see it has nice pectinate antennae.
It was about 300 m above sea level, in the highlands of Scotland. The ground is rough grass mixed with heather and other plants that like wet conditions. The picture was taken last week (15 May). The body is about 15 mm long.
Thanks for any help you can give.
Kind regards.
Signature: Iain Stirling

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Iain,
This certainly is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and it is a gorgeous specimen.  Often with insects, the sex with the more highly developed pheromone sensors AKA antennae are the males.  We are posting your identification request before we attempt to identify your Elaterid to the species level.

Vocabulary Word Interdigitation:  The interconnectivity of species in an ecosystem including predators and prey, grazers and vegetation, symbiotic relationships, parasitic relationships and shared needs.  We would love to know the plant host for this spectacular Click Beetle.

Update:  We slept on it and then did the research and we quickly found Ctenicera pectinicornis pictured on the Elateridae of the British Isles along with the information:  “Male imagos emerge before females in May and can be found resting on the stems of various grass species and on the flowers of Umbellifers. Both sexes can also be found on the ground, resting under stones.”  There is also a note:  “Very scattered records in Scotland.”  There are also some beautiful images of a male Ctenicera pectinicornis preparing to take flight on the Bobuv fotoblog site, but we need to determine the language of the blog before we can attempt a translation.

Comment:  May 20, 2014 3:38 pm
Hi, I just want to answer your question: the language of the Bobuv fotobloc site is Czech.
Kind regards, Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Letter 15 – Click Beetle: Tobacco Wireworm perhaps

 

Flying Bug
July 19, 2009
I have recently been finding this bug in my house. Have found it in Bathrooms and bedroom, usually crawling but has wings and flies if you go to grab it.
Approx. .25-.50 inches long. It is just a bit bigger then a grain of rice. Light brown / tan in color.
Mike M.
Woodstown, NJ (Rural Area)

Tobacco Wireworm
Tobacco Wireworm

Hi Mike,
This is a species of Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  It looks like a good match to the Tobacco Wireworm, Conoderus vespertinus, which we located on BugGuide.  The North Carolina State University website has a page with information on the Tobacco Wireworm which also feeds on corn and potatoes and is considered an agricultural pest.
The Organic Gardening Practices website has a photo of the larva which does the damage as well as listing susceptible plants as “Potato, strawberry, brassicas, beans, beets, carrot, lettuce, onion, and tomato, also ornamentals, including, anemone, carnation, dahlia, gladioli, and primula.”

Letter 16 – Click Beetle with pectinate antennae from Uganda

 

Subject: Yet another ’bug’ from Uganda
Location: Uganda, Albert Basin
March 16, 2013 2:30 am
Hi, there are many of these where I am in Albert Basin.
From browsing I’m assuming its a Longhorn with ’pectinate’ antennae. Curious to know the species name.
Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks
Signature: Kay

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Hi Kay,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We don’t know if we will be able to determine a species identification.  African insects, unless they are species valued by folks who amass collections of “showy” insects for decorative collections, are often very difficult to find information about on the internet.  No Click Beetle on the Beetles of Africa site resemble your beetle, nor do any examples on Afripics.  Some parts of the world have more information available on species, and they tend to be places where natural history is valued, like Japan and Australia.  Here is a Click Beetle with pectinate antennae from Japan, a Click Beetle from Thailand with pectinate antennae and even a Click Beetle from our own Mount Washington Los Angeles offices that we had a very difficult time trying to identify.  Hopefully we our our readers will be able to provide at least a genus level identification.  We would bet that your beetle is a male that uses those impressive antennae to help “sniff out” a mate.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

Letter 17 – Click Beetle, NOT Ironclad Beetle

 

Subject: Need Beetle ID
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
September 13, 2014 9:51 pm
I found this beetle on May 12th of this year near Olympia, Washington, USA. It was in a weedy patch in a garden. Surrounding the garden was a deciduous forest of bigleaf maple and red alder and a douglas-fir forest, on separate sides of the open area. The bug was about 30 meters from any set of woods. Never seen a beetle like it. Any ideas?
Signature: JD

Unknown Beetle
Click Beetle

Hi JD,
Upon opening your digital file, our first impression was that you submitted an image of an Ironclad Beetle, but upon browsing through the images on BugGuide, we don’t believe that is correct.  We will try to get some assistance from Eric Eaton, though we don’t believe we will hear back from him until later in the week.  Meanwhile, we are open to suggestions and assistance from our readership.

Update:  Click Beetle,
Thanks to Bugophile who identified this Click Beetle as being in the genus
Danosoma, and for providing a link to BugGuide.

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 – Click Beetle from Thailand

 

identify
Location: north east thailand
November 17, 2011 6:40 pm
Saw this on the floor of an apartment block in the issarn region of thailand.Namely udon thani a city less than twenty miles form the border of Laos,It mainly agicultural and rice growing in the region..
found this in the dry season,March to may, but not 100% cklear on that,but it was four yrs ago
Signature: andy

Click Beetle

Hi Andy,
This is definitely a Beetle, but beyond that, we are stumped.  Generally we are able to at least provide a family for beetles, but there are so many physical attributes that are distinctive on this beetle that we have not seen combined in this manner.  The pectinate (see BugGuide) are probably the most distinctive feature, but the spined thorax and narrow waist connecting to the abdomen is also quite unique.  Many beetles in the superfamily Elateroidea (See BugGuide for North American examples) have similar antennae and thoracic features, including some of the Click Beetles in the family Elateridae.  At first glance, we thought this might be a Prionid, but the thorax structure seems to negate that possibility.  We need additional time to research and perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this challenging identification.  We could not locate it on ThaiBugs.  Can you recall the size of this creature?

Unknown Beetle from Thailand

Immediate Update:
After posting we looked again at the ThaiBugs site and found a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae that looks close.  It is “unidentified and in need of a shave” and pictured as a thumbnail near the bottom of the page.

Daniel:
Yes, a click beetle!  I believe this one is Oxynopterus mucronatus, or at least something very closely related.  Thanks for sharing!
Eric

Thanks Eric,
We found matching images on Project Noah and the Click Beetles of the Palearctic Region website.

Hi daniel was about an inch long. dificult to gauge the with from memory.But remember being fascinated by the antenae type and size,which was noticably wider than the body.
Andy

 

Letter 2 – Beetle from Malaysia might be Click Beetle

 

What insect is this?
Location: Malaysia
March 10, 2011 1:32 pm
My friend found this at his house. no idea what this is. can you help identify it?
Signature: Michelle

Possibly Click Beetle

Hi Michelle,
This beetle sure has nice feathery antennae.  At first we thought it might be a Click Beetle, though most Click Beetles do not have such plumose antennaeOur 10,000th posting in May 2010 was a very similar looking beetle from Hawaii.  That beetle as well as your beetle might be
Callirhipis cardwellensis which may be seen on Flickr.

Letter 3 – Bug of the Month May 2011: Unknown Black Click Beetle

 

April 29, 2011
Last night while posting to the website, Daniel felt something crawling on his neck, and it was this gorgeous large black Click Beetle.  This is the second time this beetle has been found in our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices, and the first sighting was almost exactly two years ago.   Recently while planting walnuts in nearby Elyria Canyon Park, a large Wireworm was uncovered in the dirt.  Sadly, there does not seem to be a match on BugGuide.  Species in the genus
Lanelater are not listed in California on BugGuide, and we thought we might have an identification with the California species Melanectes densus, but that species seems broader with different antennae than our little beauty.  It seems a bit tragic that we are unable to identify our own species of Click Beetle, but perhaps Mardikavana or one of our other beetle aficionados will be able to provide an identification.

We kept this beauty on the kitchen table under a glass until there was natural morning light for an indoor portrait and we later release it after taking some outdoor images as well.

Letter 4 – Arboreal Click Beetle in Mount Washington

 

Arboreal Click Beetle
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
May 25, 2015 5:51 PM

Another regular seasonal visitor came to our porch light this past week, an Arboreal Click Beetle with feathered antennae that we have been informed is in the genus Euthysanius.  This particular individual could not right itself, and we suspect is was somehow injured when we found it on our front porch.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae may be predators or feed in rotting wood (not yet known).”

Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle
Arboreal Click Beetle

Letter 5 – Argentine Click Beetle

 

Beetle in Argentina
We found this bug in a forest in the Province of Entre Ríos, Argentina. We couldn’t identify it, and it doesn’t appear in your beetles pages. Can you please tell us what it is? Thanks. Gabriel, Matias & Andrés

Dear Gabriel, Matias & Andrés,
We believe this is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae. Many members of this family can right themselves when they fall on their backs by snapping their bodies and flipping in the air. This produces a clicking sound hence the popular name. Eric Eaton wrote in: ” The Argentine click beetle is most likely in the genus Chalcolepidius. Great specimen!”

Letter 6 – Beetle from Paraguay: Click Beetle

 

Paraguay bugs
Hi
Ive attached a pair of photos of Paraguayan bugs. The Mbaracayu one I am not even convinced is a heteropteran at all, but do you know what it is and what family it belongs to? If you have time could you please quickly check out our page www.faunaparaguay.com/heteroptera.html and make sure that our images are correctly classified! I am a bit unsure especially about the Pyrrhocorids! By the way we have tonnes of unclassified Coleopteran images too if you fancy turning your hand to them www.faunaparaguay.com/coleoptera.html and orthopterans www.faunaparaguay.com/orthoptera.html Great site by the way and please feel free to use any of the photos from the website for yours! Best wishes
Paul

Hi Paul,
We are linking back to the pages you indicated as well as the Fauna of Paraguay home page. What a marvelous website. Of the two images you sent to us, only one is a True Bug, and it is not distinctive enough for us to even attempt a proper identification. The Mbaracayu image is a beetle. It is our best guess that it is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae, though it may be a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.

Update: (11/05/2007)
Daniel:
Congrats on the outcome of the journalism conferences! Nice to hear good news. The beetle from Paraguay is a click beetle (Elateridae), though I’m not sure which genus. Keep up the great work.
Eric

Letter 7 – Click Beetle: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

 

Subject: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus
Location: Santa Rita Mountain Foothills
March 19, 2014 10:58 am
For You bugman!
These picutres of Chalcolepidius smaragdinus were taken along the road running through the foothills leading up to the Santa Rita Mountains. They were found on Baccharis sarothroides along Madera Canyon Road in AZ, August 17, 2009. The beetles feed on the oozing sap from the plant.
Signature: swampyy82

Click Beetle
Click Beetles:  Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

Dear swampyy82,
Thank you so much for supplying our site with your images of this gorgeous green Click Beetle, a new species for our archives.  BugGuide does not provide much information on this species, so your observations are quite valuable.

Click Beetle:  Chalcolepidius smaragdinus
Click Beetle: Chalcolepidius smaragdinus

It’s my pleasure bugman!  Any pic You want, just let me know.  They were quite numerous the year I collected them.  I took 5 for my collection even though there were many more.  That road has been pillage greatly over the years and some years when I’m out West, we see none at all.  Chalcolepidius lenzi is also found in this area.  My collecting buddy has one, but, I don’t yet.

 

Letter 8 – Click Beetle from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Is this a click beetle
Location: Costa rica
March 2, 2016 6:56 am
I saw this in the rain forest near limon in Costa rica. I think its a click beetle.
Signature: James Roberts

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear James,
This really is a pretty Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We believe we have correctly identified it as Semiotus insignis on the South Dakota State University site where the range is listed as “Mexico; Guatemala; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; Panama.”  Clicking on the thumbnail produces this enlargement.  We found several other images of mounted specimens online, including this individual for sale on BugManiac, but we couldn’t locate a single image of a living individual.  That makes your submission unique on the web, at least for an identified individual.

Letter 9 – Click Beetle from Costa Rica: Chalcolepidius bomplandi

 

Subject: Click Beetle
Location: Northern Costa RIca
June 24, 2013 8:15 pm
Hi, I was trying to identify a click beetle that I found on my front door. Upon searching I found an image in your archives, 2006/04/17/argentine-click-beetle/, of the the same species (at least it seemed the same to me). I identified it as Chalcolepidius limbatus, but upon further searching it seems that that species may only be from South America and my click beetle is from Costa Rica. So I found a almost identical looking beetle identified as C. bomplandi that supposedly is found here in Costa Rica. So I guess what I’m asking is if someone out there knows enough about click beetles to confirm or correct my ID’s?
Signature: Siggy

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Siggy,
We cannot say for certain that your Click Beetle is
Chalcolepidius bomplandi, but we do concur that it does greatly resemble that Costa Rican species which we found pictured on the South Dakota State University website which has a key to the species in the genus Chalcolepidius.  Your photos are quite lovely, but we had to crop and resize them for the internet which necessitated moving your name in the digital file.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle
Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

Letter 10 – Click Beetle from Ghana

 

Subject:  Beetle in Northern Ghana
Geographic location of the bug:  Tomale, Ghana Africa (Northern Ghana)
Date: 03/30/2019
Time: 12:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My sister is in the Peace Corps in Northern Ghana, and woke up to this beetle crawling on her in the early morning hours. She is not sure what it is, and we can’t seem to find anything online. Can you help us identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Sister in the States

Click Beetle

Dear Sister in the States,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and its antennae are quite distinctive.  It looks very similar to this Click Beetle from Uganda that we posted many years ago.

Letter 11 – Click Beetle from Mexico

 

Subject:  jewel beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  San Jose del Cabo, BCS, Mexico
Date: 09/06/2018
Time: 05:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please identify this beetle? It’s about 1.5 inches long
Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Hubbard

Ruby Click Beetle

Dear Mike,
While this is NOT a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, it is a beetle with a jewel mentioned in its common name.  It is a Ruby Click Beetle,
Chalcolepidius rubripennis.  The Ruby Click Beetle is well represented on iNaturalist

Ruby Click Beetle

Letter 12 – Click Beetle from Nicaragua

 

Jumping beetle
Location: Nicaragua, Managua, El Crucero ( 12° 3’45.68”N – 86°18’51.68”W)
January 30, 2012 5:49 pm
Dear Bugman,
This beetle emits a click sound when movin violently its head, the movement makes the beetle to jump a few centimeters high.
Signature: Sergiortc

Click Beetle

Dear Sergiotc,
The audible clicking sound this beetle makes has given rise to the common name Click Beetles for the members of the family Elateridae.  Click Beetles are able to flex their bodies at the joint between the thorax and abdomen if they ever find themselves on their backs.  The action propels them into the air and they generally land on their feet after the first attempt.

Letter 13 – Click Beetle from Peru: Semiotus sanguinicollis

 

Subject: Click Beetle??
Location: Blancio Claylick, Madre de Dios, Peru
March 12, 2013 8:32 am
Is it possible to id this beetle (Click beetle??) to specie-level?
Photo taken November 9, 2009
Signature: Kristian

Click Beetle
Click Beetle:  Semiotus sanguinicollis

Hi Kristian,
Wow, this is a beautiful beetle, and we agree that it appears to be a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We don’t know if we will be able to come up with a species ID as the morning is passing and we must catch a train.  We found a match identified as
Semiotus sp, but we are having trouble linking to the siteInsect Sale lists it as Semiotus sanguinicollis.  The University of South Dakota website confirms that the genus is correct.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle: Semiotus sanguinicollis

Letter 14 – Click Beetle from Scotland: Ctenicera pectinicornis

 

Subject: Is this a click beetle?
Location: United Kingdom
May 19, 2014 2:38 pm
Hello, here’s my picture of a beetle that I would like help identifying. I think it is a click beetle of some sort – and as you can see it has nice pectinate antennae.
It was about 300 m above sea level, in the highlands of Scotland. The ground is rough grass mixed with heather and other plants that like wet conditions. The picture was taken last week (15 May). The body is about 15 mm long.
Thanks for any help you can give.
Kind regards.
Signature: Iain Stirling

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Iain,
This certainly is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and it is a gorgeous specimen.  Often with insects, the sex with the more highly developed pheromone sensors AKA antennae are the males.  We are posting your identification request before we attempt to identify your Elaterid to the species level.

Vocabulary Word Interdigitation:  The interconnectivity of species in an ecosystem including predators and prey, grazers and vegetation, symbiotic relationships, parasitic relationships and shared needs.  We would love to know the plant host for this spectacular Click Beetle.

Update:  We slept on it and then did the research and we quickly found Ctenicera pectinicornis pictured on the Elateridae of the British Isles along with the information:  “Male imagos emerge before females in May and can be found resting on the stems of various grass species and on the flowers of Umbellifers. Both sexes can also be found on the ground, resting under stones.”  There is also a note:  “Very scattered records in Scotland.”  There are also some beautiful images of a male Ctenicera pectinicornis preparing to take flight on the Bobuv fotoblog site, but we need to determine the language of the blog before we can attempt a translation.

Comment:  May 20, 2014 3:38 pm
Hi, I just want to answer your question: the language of the Bobuv fotobloc site is Czech.
Kind regards, Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Letter 15 – Click Beetle: Tobacco Wireworm perhaps

 

Flying Bug
July 19, 2009
I have recently been finding this bug in my house. Have found it in Bathrooms and bedroom, usually crawling but has wings and flies if you go to grab it.
Approx. .25-.50 inches long. It is just a bit bigger then a grain of rice. Light brown / tan in color.
Mike M.
Woodstown, NJ (Rural Area)

Tobacco Wireworm
Tobacco Wireworm

Hi Mike,
This is a species of Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  It looks like a good match to the Tobacco Wireworm, Conoderus vespertinus, which we located on BugGuide.  The North Carolina State University website has a page with information on the Tobacco Wireworm which also feeds on corn and potatoes and is considered an agricultural pest.
The Organic Gardening Practices website has a photo of the larva which does the damage as well as listing susceptible plants as “Potato, strawberry, brassicas, beans, beets, carrot, lettuce, onion, and tomato, also ornamentals, including, anemone, carnation, dahlia, gladioli, and primula.”

Letter 16 – Click Beetle with pectinate antennae from Uganda

 

Subject: Yet another ’bug’ from Uganda
Location: Uganda, Albert Basin
March 16, 2013 2:30 am
Hi, there are many of these where I am in Albert Basin.
From browsing I’m assuming its a Longhorn with ’pectinate’ antennae. Curious to know the species name.
Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks
Signature: Kay

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Hi Kay,
This is a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  We don’t know if we will be able to determine a species identification.  African insects, unless they are species valued by folks who amass collections of “showy” insects for decorative collections, are often very difficult to find information about on the internet.  No Click Beetle on the Beetles of Africa site resemble your beetle, nor do any examples on Afripics.  Some parts of the world have more information available on species, and they tend to be places where natural history is valued, like Japan and Australia.  Here is a Click Beetle with pectinate antennae from Japan, a Click Beetle from Thailand with pectinate antennae and even a Click Beetle from our own Mount Washington Los Angeles offices that we had a very difficult time trying to identify.  Hopefully we our our readers will be able to provide at least a genus level identification.  We would bet that your beetle is a male that uses those impressive antennae to help “sniff out” a mate.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

 

Letter 17 – Click Beetle, NOT Ironclad Beetle

 

Subject: Need Beetle ID
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
September 13, 2014 9:51 pm
I found this beetle on May 12th of this year near Olympia, Washington, USA. It was in a weedy patch in a garden. Surrounding the garden was a deciduous forest of bigleaf maple and red alder and a douglas-fir forest, on separate sides of the open area. The bug was about 30 meters from any set of woods. Never seen a beetle like it. Any ideas?
Signature: JD

Unknown Beetle
Click Beetle

Hi JD,
Upon opening your digital file, our first impression was that you submitted an image of an Ironclad Beetle, but upon browsing through the images on BugGuide, we don’t believe that is correct.  We will try to get some assistance from Eric Eaton, though we don’t believe we will hear back from him until later in the week.  Meanwhile, we are open to suggestions and assistance from our readership.

Update:  Click Beetle,
Thanks to Bugophile who identified this Click Beetle as being in the genus
Danosoma, and for providing a link to BugGuide.

Authors

  • 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
Tags: Click Beetle

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