Click beetles are long, narrow, and rounded or tapered at each end. The sides are fairly parallel. Most are drab brown, black, or gray, some with interesting patterns. The pronotum (shieldlike portion between the head and wing covers) is extended on each side, pointing to the rear. The antennae are usually serrate (the segments looking sawtoothed), or threadlike or with little combs at the tip.
Behavior helps identify click beetles. By snapping a spinelike structure into a groove on the underside of the thorax (beneath the pronotum), click beetles that find themselves on their backs can flip suddenly into the air. This startles predators and helps click beetles escape, in addition to helping them get back on their feet.
The larvae are thin, wormlike, shiny, hard-bodied, and segmented. Called wireworms, they have 6 tiny legs and are tan, whitish, or brownish. They look a bit like the mealworms sold at bait and pet shops, or like soil centipedes that have only 6 legs.