Click beetlesEdit

Arthropods (Arthropoda)------Insects (Insecta)-----Beetles (Coleoptera)-----Polyphaga----Elateroidea-----Click beetles (Elateridae)

Resplendant Click beetle 3

Resplendent click beetle

Click beetles are unusual members of the beetle order Coleoptera. If disturbed they can roll over onto their back, and then spring into the air making a click sound and normally taking wing, but they do not need to be on their back to spring up, and can do it perfectly fine on their front. This clicking act can be for two things, A. for startling predators and B. for flipping itself over if it gets stuck on its back. If you are handling one and it goes on its back with its legs held in to its body tight, get ready for it to jump and/ or cover your hand so it doesn't get away. Photographing these taking off is far more simpler than other beetles, they spread their wings for about 0.7 seconds, much longer than any other beetle, and if you have fast reflexes it is (fairly) simple to achieve, I haven't had much luck with this, but it was only until I watched the Resplendent click beetle when it took off that I realised how slow they were to fly away, I didn't see a click beetle again until the Crucifix came along, that was my first click beetle take-off photo. Adults are apparently nocturnal, but can easily be found during the day on vegetation. One genus (Hypnoidus) contains species that can be only found by looking under large rocks, these are rarely encountered and it may take many, many tries and rocks to find them, see more under the Rock searching technique. Some larvae are noted as serious pests, click beetle larvae are known as Wireworms. The infamous "Firefly click beetle, Pyrophorus noctilicus" has 2 luminisecent spots on its pronotum, link to some pictures here: Firefly click beetle, they are even brighter than fireflies.

Best times of yearEdit

Click beetles are generally found anywhere from late April - end of July, very few click beetles are found past this in Alberta.

Identifying click beetlesEdit

All Elaterids can be easily identified by the pointed edges of the pronotum and the circle shape where the elytra meet at the top (below). The only type of beetle similar is a Firefly but fireflies do not have sharp, pointy edges to the pronotum, instead they have smooth rounded edges like other beetles.


The common names Fire and ash click beetle, Ground click beetle and Small barred click beetle are not true names, I made them myself since they do not have one currently.

Selastomus sp.

Selatosomus sp.

Resplendant Click beetle diagram

All Click beetles have this typical shape to the pronotum and the circle above the elytra, plus the fact they always have elongated wings makes them easy to identify.


Resplendent click beetle Ctenicera resplendens Fire and ash click beetle Ampedus apicatus
Resplendant Click beetle 1
Ampedus apicatus
Black click beetle Selatosomus sp. Ground click beetle Hypnoidus sp.
Selastomus sp.
Hypnoidus sp.

Crucifix click beetle Selatosomus cruciatus Small barred click beetle Pseudanostirus triundulatus
Crucifix click beetle
Pseudanostirus triundulata 1
Unidentified click beetle ????? ????? Sapphire-winged Click beetle Ctenicera aeripennis
Ctenicera aeripennis