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Animal Themes
Insects
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Click Beetles



Click Beetles
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.16

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bioluminescent, elater, elegantulus, white-ringed, wireworms, speculate, back-up, mindful, tremendous, unexpected, ploy, worldwide, coloration, emit, beetle, underside
     content words:    North America


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Click Beetles   

1     Click beetles are perhaps the world's most talented escape artists and acrobats. When threatened, click beetles play dead by lying on their backs, tucking their legs and antennae closely to their bodies, and staying motionless. Though this trick often works, click beetles are mindful of the fact that some persistent predators don't mind eating dead animals. To prevent such a tragic event from happening to them, click beetles have a brilliant back-up plan.
 
2     Just as a "dead" click beetle is about to be picked up by a hungry bird, it bends its head and thorax backward to form an arch. Then, it suddenly straightens its body, making a loud click and hurling itself into the air! This revival act is so startling and unexpected that it's guaranteed to scare off the bird! The click beetle uses this ploy not just in a life-and-death situation. Since its legs are too short to right itself from an upside-down position, the click beetle carries out the same stunt whenever it lies on its back.
 
3     What is the secret behind the click beetle's amazing acrobatic performance? Well, this is how it works. The click beetle has a spine and groove on its underside. As the click beetle straightens its body, it snaps the spine into the groove. This quick motion produces an audible noise and propels the insect as high up as 6 inches into the air.

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
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