Saturday, June 19, 2010


I got to deal with a lot of click beetles (family Elateridae) during my undergrad research project at McGill. However, they were all preserved in ethanol or pinned. Today I was shaking some tree branches over a sheet (just to see if anything interesting would fall out), and came across a bunch of (live!) click beetles.

It is difficult to identify Elaterids without a scope, as some genera can only be distinguished by their claws. Many species do have distinctive markings, but the ones that are plain brown need a bit more work. My first guess for this one would be Melanotus.

It is easy to guess what click beetles are known for - clicking. But not just clicking... clicking while they jump!

The jumping mechanism involves a spine on the underside of the body that can be snapped into a notch, propelling it into the air. How far the beetle can jump depends on the surface it is laying on - in the video clip I took above, it was on a rock, and made it about 8" high. On my hand however, the beetle made it only a few millimeters, just high enough to flip over.


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