The Elateridae, or Click Beetles as they are commonly known, are a family within the Coleoptera comprising 73 species in the British Isles. They are identifiable by their elongated appearence with heads somewhat sunken into the thorax, sharp posterior angles on the pronotum and often toothed or pectinate antennae.
They are named for their ability to flip into the air in order to right themselves when upside down, it is this mechanism which produces the familiar ‘click’.
Many species are quite uniformly brown or black in colour, some with a metallic sheen and often a fine covering of silver/grey hairs. Some species are more brightly coloured with red or yellow or metallic/iridescent greens, golds and purples. Sizes range from 3-4mm up to around 20mm.
Many species in the British Isles are either rare or very locally distributed, with some only appearing in one or two locations nationwide and others only known from historic records. There are however a number of species that are common and occur in most parts of Britain and will be familiar to naturalists.