Melanotus communis

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Melanotus sp. from the M. communis complex (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Judy Gallagher
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Melanotus communis Gyllenhal, 1817 - (cornfield wireworm)

This click beetle is found in North America and is very common in some areas. It is of quarantine concern in other parts of the world. The larvae attack a variety of crops like maize (corn), sugarcane or potatoes. Taxonomically M. communis is regarded as a complex of several species.

The larvae feed on the roots and other buried parts of the plants, including the sown maize seeds. Young corn plants are often killed in infested fields. The larvae develop over a period of 3-5 years. Populations tend to build up in wet fields and in fields planted with grasses, alfalfa or potatoes. Flooding fallow fields is sometimes used for controlling the pest.