Nature on our doorsteps: Clickety-click

By Rosaleen Dwyer

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council – Every week she gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of the plants and creatures

The Click Beetle is a fascinating insect to watch whenever you come across it in the garden. 

It is narrow and long in shape and, being a beetle, it has hardened wing cases on its lower body that protect its more delicate flying wings stored underneath. 

In flight the hard brown wing cases open releasing the clear flying wings underneath compressor

In flight, the hard brown wing cases open, releasing the clear flying wings underneath

The Click Beetle gets its name from a little trick that it uses whenever it is disturbed.

It can suddenly flick itself into the air, landing safely some distance away from whatever bothered it. 

It can reach highs of 30cm during these flicks and if it lands on its back, it will flick again and again until it lands correctly. 

It manages this amazing feat by flexing the joint between the upper (thorax) and lower (abdomen) parts of its body. 

This joint has a special part, a peg, which keeps the two body parts aligned correctly as the beetle walks around. 

When the beetle flexes its body, tension builds up in the joint. 

The Click Beetle is a long brown cylindical insect with a trick up its sleeve compressor

If you are still in work can you get me a few banners/balloons for dylan? I will fix you up.

The peg then slips out of place and, very suddenly, the pent-up tension explodes like a coiled spring being released, catapulting the insect into the air.

The ‘click’ that we hear when this happens gives the insect its name.

Of course, the Click Beetle could also just fly away, although this requires a lot more effort for the insect!

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