The Superfamily Elateroidea consists of seven Families (including the Elateridae). The other six vary in their resemblence to the Elateridae.
Eucnemidae – the False Click Beetles.
There are six British species of Eucnemid (Duff, 2008). They are known as the False Click Beetles to distinguish them from the ‘True’ Click Beetles of the family Elateridae and despite the name, many do in fact have the ability to flick themselves into the air.
The six British species are very elusive creatures of woodlands and are seldom come across casually. Like many Elaterid species, the larvae of Eucnemids are wood boring, favouring a range of tree species including Pedunculate Oak (Quercus rober), Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and pines.
They range in size up to 10mm and all British species can be identified by external features. The commonest species in Britain is Melasis buprestoides, extending in range up to Yorkshire. One species, Epiphanis cornutus was most likely introduced from North America and is currently expanding it’s British range.
Family EUCNEMIDAE Eschscholtz, 1829
Subfamily MELASINAE Fleming, 1821
Tribe MELASINI Fleming, 1821
MELASIS Olivier, 1790
buprestoides (Linnaeus, 1761)
Tribe EPIPHANINI Muona, 1993
HYLIS des Gozis, 1886
HYPOCAELUS sensu Guerin-Meneville, 1843 non Dejean, 1833
HYPOCOELUS auctt. (misspelling)
carniceps (Reitter, 1902)
olexai (Palm, 1955)
procerulus sense auctt. non (Mannerheim, 1823)
EPIPHANIS Eschscholtz, 1829
cornatus Eschscholtz, 1829
Tribe DIRHAGINI Reitter, 1911
MICRORHAGUS Dejean, 1833
DIRHAGUS Latreille, 1834
pygmaeus (Fabricius, 1793)
Subfamily EUCNEMINAE Eschscholtz, 1829
EUCNEMIS Ahrens, 1812
capucina, Ahrens, 1812
The Throscidae are represented in Britain and indeed throughout most of Europe by five species. They are closely related to the Elateridae and share the ability to flick themselves into the air. This feature however, is less well developed in the Throscids and is rarely seen. When disturbed a more usual form of defense is to tuck their antennae and legs into grooves on their undersides, remaining motionless.
The five British species are quite similar in appearence and do not exceed 3.5mm in length. Colours range from light to dark brown. They are elongated or oval in shape and have clubbed antennae (a feature absent from the true click beetles).
They can readily be identified using external features, most commonly using differences in the head, but also size, shape of the pronotum and puncturation on the pronotum and elytra. They are sexually dimorphic, further aiding identification.
Habitats range from woodlands and grasslands to saltmarshes and sweeping will often produce specimens in the right habitats. They are attracted to light. The most common British species is Trixagus dermestoides and is the only species to be found throughout Britain.
Family THROSCIDAE Laporte, 1840
AULONOTHROSCUS Horn, 1890
TRIXAGUS sensu auctt. partim non Kugelann, 1794
brevicollis (de Bonvouloir, 1859)
TRIXAGUS Kugelann, 1794
THROSCUS Latreille, 1796
carinifrons (de Bonvouloir, 1859)
seriatus Blair, 1942
dermestoides (Linnaeus, 1767)
gracilis Wollaston, 1854
elateroides sensu auctt. Brit. non (Heer, 1841)
obtusus (Curtis, 1827)
The Drilidae are represented in Britain by a single species. Confusion with Elateridae is possible but unlikely, due to the insects very ‘hairy’ appearance, parellel sided and rounded elytra, more akin to the Tenebrionid beetle, Lagria hirta (Linnaeus, 1758).
Family DRILIDAE Blanchard, 1845
DRILUS Olivier, 1790
flavescens (Fourcroy, 1785)
The Lycidae are represented in Britain by four species in three genera. Known as Net-winged Beetles, the elytra of all British species show a strong ridged grid-like pattern and are brightly coloured red or yellow.
Family LYCIDAE Laporte, 1836
Subfamily EROTINAE LeConte, 1881
DICTYOPTERA Latreille, 1829
EROS Newman, 1838
aurora (Herbst, 1784)
PYROPTERUS Mulsant, 1838
nigroruber (De Geer, 1774)
affinis (Paykull, 1779)
PLATYCIS Thomson, C.G., 1859
cosnardi (Chevrolat, 1829)
minutus (Fabricius, 1787)
Represented in Britain by three species, they are commonly known as the Glow-worms. All three species show bioluminescence to varying degrees and can be identified by the shape and positioning of the light organs.
Family Lampyridae Latreille, 1817
LAMPYRIS Muller, O.F., 1764
noctiluca (Linnaeus, 1758)
LAMPROHIZA Motschulsky, 1853
splendidula (Linnaeus, 1767)
PHOSPHAENUS Laporte, 1833
hemipterus (Goeze, 1777)
Cantharidae – the Soldier Beetles.