Red and Black Click Beetle

2015 April 8

Sam found this click beetle crawling on the sidewalk in front of the house on August 7, 2014. It was about half an inch long, fairly typical for a click beetle.

There are a number of red and black click beetles similar to this one in the genus Ampedus, and Ampedus apicatus in particular looks like a really good match, right down to the vaguely heart-shaped dark patch at the tips of the wing covers.

(although there are a few others on BugGuide that are close enough that I can’t discount them entirely, and the genus contains 70 species in North America, many of which don’t have pictures posted yet).

At any rate, it is definitely a click beetle, as can be seen from the clicking mechanism between its “head” and the rest of its body.

I say “head” because the actual head is the little bit at the very top, kind of fused with the first thorax segment. The clicker is actually between the first and second thorax segments.

It wasn’t too keen on being held, and after a few rounds of clicking it got disgusted with us and flew off. Still, it was pretty easy to catch. Incidentally, this is something I just now started wondering about: beetles have a reputation for being the order of insects with the greatest number of species. But, while they are undoubtedly very diverse, how much of our knowledge of that is because, unlike most other insects, they are more inclined to just hunker down and trust to their armor when they feel threatened? Thereby making themselves extremely easy for entomologists to collect and thoroughly examine? Unlike, say, flies, which mostly fly off before they can be identified?

2 Responses
  1. April 8, 2015

    Quartering towards is a particularly lovely photo, showing the fuzz on the back. As for the numbers of species, what’s the count? Is it 4-1 in favor of beetles over flies?

  2. April 9, 2015

    According to bug guide, the relative numbers of known species for the “Big Five” insect orders are:

    Beetles: 390,000 worldwide, 25,000 in North America
    Flies: 150,000 worldwide, 17,000 in North America
    True Bugs: 82,000 worldwide, 10,200 in North America
    Ants/Bees/Wasps: 153,000 worldwide, 18,000 in North America
    Moths/Butterflies: 165,000 worldwide, 13,000 in North America

    So there are more known beetles than of any other insect order, but only by maybe a factor of 2 or 3. And they are still outnumbered by all of the othe insect orders together.

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