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Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Drahtwürmer
• English: wireworms
click beetles
snapping beetles
click beetles
• Español: gusanos de alambre
• Français: ver fil de fer
Agriotes lineatus (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Darius Bauzys
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Elateridae - (wireworms, click beetles)

This is a large family of beetles with around 10,000 species. The adults have an elongated body with a large and free articulated prothorax and usually serrate antennae. The name "click beetles" refers to their ability to leap up when lying on their back, producing a clicking sound. The larvae are elongated and worm-like. Those of the important subfamily Elaterinae have a tough skin.

Most species are phytophagous and the larvae are often destructive root feeders on pastures, cereals and root crops. E.g. they can cause considerable damage on maize and a 10% infestation rate in France corresponds to a yield loss of 500-1000 kg/ha (Saussure et al., 2015).

The larvae of some species are predators (see the page on predatory wireworms).

For more details consult one of the following:
Traugott et al., 2015 - a review of the agricultural significance of the family
Etzler et al., 2014 - for identification using DNA analysis
Wikipedia - a general review of the family.

The following genera are currently entered under Elateridae: