Image By: Henry Hartley via Wikimedia Commons
Some bugs are just fun! If you have never heard of a Click Beetle don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either.
I was introduced to this beetle by a co-worker who found one and brought it into the office. Having never seen a Click Beetle in action, I watched curiously as she placed the insect on it’s back. Seconds later this amazing insect went straight up off the desk into the air. Instinctively we both jumped back, because, well because a bug was flinging itself into the air! After exchanging a good laugh, I decided to find out how this little bug could be so acrobatic.
The click beetle gets it’s name from the clicking sound it makes as it rights itself from an upside down position.
Because of its short little legs this insect cannot flip itself into an upright position. It has a hinge across the front of its body that flexes. On the underside of its body is a spine and groove alignment. To flip itself upright the beetle flexes, bending its head and prothorax backward and then straightens, causing the spine to slide into the groove, causing a loud click, hence the name.
Besides being called the Click Beetle it is also called a Snapping Beetle, Spring Beetle or Skipjack.
The adult click beetles do little damage. It is the larvae that damage plants and crops. The larvae are known as wireworms. Farmers, gardeners and homeowners are familiar with this hard coated, slender, cylinder shaped wireworm. Farmers find damage in planted crops, such as corn and soybeans in the early stages of plant growth. Gardeners find them in root crops such as potatoes, where they burrow in the tubers. Homeowners will see them in large numbers crawling along concrete and sometimes finding their way inside.
The wireworm reaches maturity anywhere from two to six years. Soil temperatures play an important roll in the development of the larvae. When they mature the adults are about an inch long and are brown or black. However the North American Click Beetle or the Eyed Click Beetle can grow up to 1.75 inches long and has two large black and white eye like spots right behind its head. Some tropical species are brightly colored or luminescent, giving off enough light that they can be used to read by.
The different species of Click Beetles run into the thousands worldwide, with hundreds of species found in the United States. So, if you should ever encounter the Click Beetle, take a moment to be entertained by this fascinating bug. It will make you laugh.