Sunday, 28 September 2008

Wireworms

.....The Larval Stage of the Click Beetle

These slender, hard coated, ground dwelling insects are the larvae of Click beetles (Elateridae). Many of them feed on roots and thus a few are considered agricultural pests. Some of the Elaterids are even carnivorous although I'm not aware of whether any of the Tasmanian species are in this category. The "Catalogue of the Insects of Tasmania" lists 38 species from 4 subfamilies. They are slow to mature and some species spend many years in the soil before pupating and emerging (usually Jan/Feb).

The Wireworm in the photographs below was found in my backyard yesterday. While I did not measure it, I would estimate it to be around 12mm - 15mm in length.

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
A Wireworm



True or False?

The larvae of the Tenebrionidae are also rather wiry and are often referred to as False Wireworms. So how can you tell if you have a true or false wireworm? For one thing, False Wireworms are more cylindrical and are fast moving. The ones I've seen have wriggled quite vigorously when disturbed. There are a few features that will help to identify a True Wireworm. The head will be dark brown. They have a single proleg under the last segment. This segment also has a flattened shield, known as the anal plate, with serrated edges.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
Detail of anal segment


Ventral View


Detail of head and thorax - ventral view



A typical adult Click beetle


5 comments:

  1. I've had heaps of click beetles come into the moth light recently Mosura, never seen so many before.

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  2. Hi Mosura
    Thanks for telling me what those things are. I cannot say I get them here, but certainly I remember them from Canberra gardens.
    Can I ask what Macro lens you are using? Details are stunning.
    Denis

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  3. Thanks Duncan - Interesting - I have a lot of beetles come to the trap but I don't recall ever having click beetles.

    Thanks Denis - I use the Canon EF 100mm F2.8 macro lens.

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  4. Very good your blog, with marvellously posts beautiful photographs and comments with amazing information!

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  5. Thanks Kostas - Glad you like it and find it useful.

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