Elateridae of the British Isles

Structure and Distinguishing Features

Athous haemorrhoidalis - showing the sharp angles at the posterior corners of the pronotum. A distinct Elaterid feature.

Athous haemorrhoidalis - showing the sharp angles at the posterior corners of the pronotum. A distinct Elaterid feature.

The Elateridae are insects and are structured as so. Their bodies are split into three segments – the head, thorax and abdomen. They have one pair of wings which are protected by a modified outer pair known as the elytra. The outer casing of the thorax is known as the pronotum and in the Elateridae this shows distinctive angles on the posterior corners.

 

The antennae are often feathered or pectinate and are very distinctly segmented.

 

 The prosternum has a spike like process which slots into a groove in the mesosternum, it is this process that produces the violent flip and ‘click’ noise produced by the beetles when threatened or upside down.

Athous haemorrhoidalis - showing the serrated antennae, often very pronounced in the Elateridae. Males of some species, most noticebly of the genus Ctenicera, show strongly pectinate antennae.

Athous haemorrhoidalis - showing the serrated antennae, often very pronounced in the Elateridae. Males of some species, most noticebly of the genus Ctenicera, show strongly pectinate antennae.

 

The prothorax and the mesothorax are loosley jointed, enabling the beetle to arch itself when ‘clicking’.