Monday, 9 January 2017

Let's Click

Click Beetles are aptly named insects that most people seem to know. Whether they had come across the beetles in their youth or experienced depredations by the larvae (wireworms) in agriculture, most folks seem to know about click beetles.

Click beetles (Elateridae), often called elaters,  possess a click mechanism that allows them to snap into position if on their backs or, perhaps, to startle a predator when threatened. A few other beetle families also possess a similar click mechanism. The "click" is caused by spine on the prosternal area of the thorax that can be forcibly snapped into a notch on the mesosternum. Over 9000 species are known with over 670 species described from Australia.

The Australian Click Beetle fauna was elegantly synopsised in a book by Andrew Calder published in 1996 by CSIRO.

Here are few highlights from recent visitors at the lights in Kuranda.
 One of the commoner species.

 Note the brown colour is actually the result of brown stiff hairs that cover the beetle.
 Thid is probably one of a number of species in the genus Paracalais.
 Positioned appropriately on a tree trunk, the elater looks like an imperfection in the bark.
As with the species above, the colour  is actually the colour of the stiff hairs that clothe the surface of the beetle.
An odd one. The elongate mandible resemble those of a stag beetle. But the structure of the thorax
reveals it's a click. This is one of five species assigned to the genus Aphileus.  Two are known from north Queensland. This one was found in mixed eucalypt forest north of Mareeba where it was attracted to light.

Literature

Calder, AE. 1996. Click Beetles: Genera of Australian Elateridae (Coleoptera).  Monographs on Invertebrate Taxonomy, Vol. 2. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic.

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