click beetle

click beetle
any of numerous beetles of the family Elateridae, having the ability to spring up with a clicking sound when placed on their backs. Also called skipjack, snapping beetle.

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also called  Skipjack,  Snapping Beetle,  or  Spring Beetle,  
 any of approximately 7,000 species of beetles (insect order Coleoptera) named for the clicking noise made when seized by a predator. Most click beetles range between 2.5 and 18 mm (less than 3/4 inch) in length and are brown or black in colour with either little or no ornamentation. However, some tropical species are brightly coloured or luminescent. Click beetles have elongated bodies with parallel sides and bluntly rounded ends.

      When a click beetle is touched, it falls on its back and plays dead. To right itself the click beetle bends its head and thorax forward, hooking a spine into a notch on the abdomen. When the spine is released, it makes a click, and the beetle is hurled into the air. Click beetles usually feed on leaves at night. Because they are attracted to sweet liquids, farmers once placed sweet baits in their fields in the spring to trap adults.

      Click beetle larvae have a hard exoskeleton and are known as wireworms because of their long, slender, cylindrical shape. They can be destructive plant pests, attacking seeds, plant roots, and underground stems. The larvae live in the soil from two to six years. The plowing of fields in the fall can cut open the pupal case and destroy the wireworms. If necessary, applications of appropriate insecticides may help control wireworm populations.

      The eyed elator (Alaus oculatus), a North American click beetle, grows to 45 mm (over 1 3/4 in.) long and has two large black-and-white eyelike spots on the prothorax, a region behind the head. The genus Pyrophorus, which occurs in the tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere, is luminescent (bioluminescence), giving off a greenish and reddish-orange light. Several of these species can provide light sufficient for reading, and they have even been used as emergency light sources during surgery.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Click beetle — Click beetles Click beetle adults and larvae (wireworms) Left: Wheat Wireworm (Agriotes mancus) Right: Sand Wireworm (Horistonotus uhlerii) Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Click beetle — Click bee tle (Zo[ o]l.) See {Elater}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • click beetle — n. any of a family (Elateridae) of beetles that, when on their backs, can usually spring up with a clicking sound …   English World dictionary

  • click beetle — Elater El a*ter, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? driver, fr. ? to drive.] 1. (Bot.) An elastic spiral filament for dispersing the spores, as in some liverworts. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) Any beetle of the family {Elaterid[ae]}, having the habit, when laid… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • click beetle — click′ bee tle n. ent any of numerous beetles of the family Elateridae, having the ability to spring up with a clicking sound when placed on their backs • Etymology: 1860–65 …   From formal English to slang

  • click beetle — noun a long, narrow beetle which can spring up with a click as a means of startling predators and escaping. [Family Elateridae.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • click beetle — /ˈklɪk bitl/ (say klik beetl) noun an elaterid beetle that makes a clicking sound in springing up, as after having been laid on its back; snapping beetle …  

  • click beetle — noun able to right itself when on its back by flipping into the air with a clicking sound • Syn: ↑skipjack, ↑snapping beetle • Hypernyms: ↑elaterid beetle, ↑elater, ↑elaterid …   Useful english dictionary

  • click beetle — noun Date: 1835 any of a family (Elateridae) of beetles able to right themselves with a click when inverted by flexing the articulation between the prothorax and mesothorax …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • click beetle — noun Any of various beetles of the family Elateridae, generally less than 20 mm long, which if turned upside down, flip themselves into the air with a clicking sound …   Wiktionary

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