Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Subfamily Elaterinae

Compiler and date details

31 December 1996 - Andrew A. Calder, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


The world fauna of Elaterinae comprises some 200 genera and 3500 species among which 21 genera and 92 species have been described from Australia (Calder 1998). No comprehensive revision of the elaterine species of Australia exists. Carter, in 1939, described eight new species of Melanoxanthus Eschscholtz and provided a key to all the species known at the time. Neboiss (1975) revised the genus Ophidius Candèze and erected Yalganus to accommodate species of Ophidius and Dicteniophorus Candèze that lacked tarsal pads. Gullan (1977) revised the genus Anilicus Candèze, erected a new genus Augenotus Gullan for two species previously included in Anilicus, and provided notes on the related genera Anilicoides Candèze and Melanoxanthus. Calder (1996) has provided an overview of the genera, erecting two new genera, Idiomilta and Rangsia and recorded the existence of Melanotus Eschscholtz in Australia (Calder 1983).

The first two described Australian elaterines were Elater nigroterminatus and Elater xanthomus (W.S. Macleay, 1826) collected on Captain Phillip P. King's survey of the intertropical and western coasts of Australia during 1818 and 1822. The former has been synonymised with Elater melanocephalus (Fabricius, 1781) which is now included in the genus Melanoxanthus, species of which are mostly tropical in distribution, and the latter is included in the genus Anilicus. Boisduval (1835) described three species collected on the voyage of the Astrolabe, and Germar (1844, 1848) another two species, one of which is a synonym. Erichson (1842) described five species mostly from Tasmania, Candèze (1859, 1863, 1865, 1878a, 1878b, 1882, 1887, 1889, 1893, 1897, 1900) described a total of 37 new species and erected nine genera and W.J. Macleay (1872, 1888) described six species from Gayndah, Queensland and the Kimberley, Western Australia. Blackburn (1889, 1892, 1911) decribed five species and erected new genera for two unusual elaterids found in the arid interior of Australia. Schwarz (1902a, 1902b, 1903, 1906, 1907) described a total of 13 new species one of which is a synonym, and Lea (1908, 1929) described seven new species from King Is., Norfolk Is. and Lord Howe Is. Blair (1935) described Megapenthes macdougalli from specimens collected around Mackay, Queensland, Carter (1939) described nine new species, and Elston (1930) described Ascesis testaceus as new. During the latter half of the 20th Century only three other workers have published on genera included in this group: Neboiss (1960, 1975), Gullan (1977) and Calder (1983, 1996).

Elaterines are for the most part drab-coloured beetles although some genera are brightly coloured. Anilicus is strikingly marked in red and black, while Ophidius, Rangsia Calder and Yalganus species are mostly orange with black markings. Some Melanoxanthus species are also coloured in contrasting colours. Elaterine species range in length from 4 to 31 mm.

Fifteen of the twenty-one Australian genera are endemic. Anchastus LeConte, Megapenthes Kiesenwetter, Melanotus and Melanoxanthus are widespread in the Holarctic, Afrotropical, Neotropical and Oriental regions. Simodactylus Candèze is widespread throughout Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia as well as extending into the Oriental Region. Ochosternus Candèze is also known from New Zealand and New Caledonia.

Biological information on any Australian elaterine species is scarce. Larvae of several species of Megapenthes, Melanoxanthus, Melanotus and Paranilicus Candèze have been collected from rotten, decaying wood either in tree trunks or underneath bark, while Megapenthes automolus Candèze has been reared from a pupa found in the soil.


General References

Blackburn, T. 1889. Further notes on Australian Coleoptera, with descriptions of new genera and species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 2 3: 1387-1506 [Date published 22 March 1889]

Blackburn, T. 1892. Notes on Australian Coleoptera, with descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 2 7(2): 283-300 [Date published 22 Nov. 1892]

Blackburn, T. 1911. Further notes on Australian Coleoptera, with descriptions of new genera and species. Part XLI. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 35: 173-203 [Date published Dec. 31, 1911]

Blair, K.G. 1935. Two new species of Australian Elateridae (Col.). Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 71: 102

Boisduval, J.B.A.D. 1835. Voyage de Découvertes de l'Astrolabe exécuté par ordre du Roi, pendant les années 1826–1827–1828–1829, sous le commandement de M.J. Dumont d'Urville. Faune entomologique de l'Océan Pacifique, avec l'illustration des insectes nouveaux recueillis pendant le voyage. 2me Partie. Coléoptères et autres Ordres. Paris : J. Tastu Vol. 2 vii 267 pp.

Calder, A.A. 1983. Melanotus Eschscholtz, a genus new to Australia (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 22(3): 257-260 [Date published Aug. 26, 1983]

Calder, A.A. 1996. Click Beetles. Genera of Australian Elateridae (Coleoptera). Monographs on Invertebrate Taxonomy 2: i-x 1-401

Calder, A.A. 1998. Coleoptera: Elateroidea. In Wells, A. (ed.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 29.6. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing, Australia. xiii 248 pp.

Candèze, E. 1859. Monographie des Elatérides 2. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège 14: 1-543

Candèze, E. 1863. Monographie des Elatérides 4. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège 17: 1-534

Candèze, E. 1865. Elatérides nouveaux. Mémoires Couronnés par l'Academie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Belgique 17: 1-63

Candèze, E. 1878a. Elatérides nouveaux. 2. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Comptes-rendus) 21: li-lxi, lxxv-lxxxv, cxxxv-cxliii, clxi-c [pages: lxxv–lxxxv, cxxxv–cxliii, clxi–clxxii, clxxxix–cxcix]

Candèze, E. 1878b. Relevé des Elatérides recueillis dans les Iles Malaises, à la Nouvelle-Guinée et au Cap York, par MM. G. Doria, O. Beccari et L.M. D'Albertis. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genova 12: 99-143

Candèze, E. 1882. Elatérides nouveaux 3. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège 2 9: 1-117

Candèze, E. 1887. Description d'élatérides nouveaux, provenant de Normantown [sic]: Baie de Carpentaria (Australie septentrionale). Notes from the Leyden Museum 9: 285-290

Candèze, E. 1889. Elatérides nouveaux 4. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Comptes-rendus) 33: 67-123

Candèze, E. 1893. Elatérides nouveaux. Cinquième fascicule. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège 2 18: 1-76

Candèze, E. 1897. Elatérides nouveaux. Sixième fascicule. Mémoires de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège 2 29: 1-88

Candèze, E. 1900. Elatérides nouveaux. Septième fascicule. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Comptes-rendus) 44: 77-101

Carter, H.J. 1939. Australian Coleoptera. Notes and new species. No. XI. (Mostly Elateridae). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 64(3-4): 297–330, pls VIII, IX

Elston, A.H. 1930. Results of Dr E. Mjöberg's Swedish scientific expeditions to Australia 1910–1912. 50. Elateridae. Arkiv för Zoologi 22A(1): 1-22 [Date published Sept. 27, 1930]

Erichson, W.F. 1842. Beitrag zur Insecten-fauna von Vandiemensland, mit besonderer Berucksichtigung der geographischen Verbreitung der Insecten. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 8(1): 83-287, pls 4, 5

Fabricius, J.C. 1781. Species insectorum, exhibentes eorum differentias specificas, synonyma auctorum, loca natalia, metamorphosin adiectis observationibus, descriptionibus. Hamburg et Kilonii : C. E. Bonn Vol. 1 viii + 552 pp. [Date published March 1781: Evenhuis 1997]

Germar, E.F. 1844. Bemerkungen über Elateriden. Zeitschrift für Entomologie (Breslau) 5: 133-192

Germar, E.F. 1848. Beiträge zur Insektenfauna von Adelaide. Linnaea Entomologica 3: 153-247

Gullan, P.J. 1977. A revision of the genus Anilicus Candèze, with notes on related genera (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne 38: 209-230

Lea, A.M. 1908. The Coleoptera of King Island, Bass Strait. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria n.s. 20(2): 143-207 [Date published March 31, 1908]

Lea, A.M. 1929. Notes on some miscellaneous Coleoptera, with descriptions of new species. Part VII. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 53: 203-244

Macleay, W.J. 1872. Notes on a collection of insects from Gayndah. Second paper. Transactions of the Entomological Society of New South Wales 2(4): 239-318

Macleay, W.J. 1888. The insects of the vicinity of King's Sound, N.W. Australia. Part III.–The Sternoxes, Family Buprestidae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 2 3(3): 1227-1246 [Date published Dec. 7, 1888]

Macleay, W.S. 1826. Annulosa, Catalogue of Insects, collected by Captain King, R.N. app. B, pp. 438-469, Table B in King, P.P. (ed.). Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. Performed between the years 1818 and 1822; with Appendix B. London : John Murray Vol. 2 viii 637 pp., 9 pls. [Date published 15 Apr 1826: imprint 1827] [Publication date established from Common, I.F.B. & Moulds, M.S. 1973. The date of publication of Captain Phillip King's Narrative of a survey of the intertropical and western coasts of Australia. Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History 6(4): 257–259]

Neboiss, A. 1960. The genera Elatichrosis Hyslop and Lingana, gen. nov. (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Australian Journal of Zoology 8(2): 289-306 [Date published Aug. 31, 1960]

Neboiss, A. 1975. The genera Ophidius Candèze and Yalganus gen. nov. (Elateridae: Coleoptera). Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 36: 25-32 [Date published May 27, 1975]

Schwarz, O. 1902a. Neue australische Elateriden. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1902(ii): 358-363 [Date published Oct. 31, 1902]

Schwarz, O. 1902b. Neue Elateriden. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1901(2): 311-336 [Date published Jan. 31, 1902]

Schwarz, O. 1903. Neue Elateriden aus Neu-Guinea und Australien. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1903(ii): 377-398 [Date published Aug. 31, 1903]

Schwarz, O. 1906. Neue Elateriden aus Australien. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1906(ii): 353-369 [Date published Sept. 10, 1906]

Schwarz, O. 1907. 18 neue Elateriden-Arten von Australien. Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung 68(1): 70-86 [Date published May 31, 1907]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Feb-2010 (import)