Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle.
Updated: 3/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The harmless Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle's large eyespots simultaneously distract and mesmerize.
This black and white species of Click Beetle has two large black 'eyespots' on its pronotum. Each eyespot is surrounded by a thick, white ring, making the pair very conspicuous. Predators see the eyes and assume the rest of the creature is proportional in size. Attacking anything assumes a risk, and many animals move on when they believe they may be outsized. The rest of the head and pronotum has a chalky appearance. The long, slender, black eyltra (wing coverings) are covered in white speckles.
The Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle has similar-looking relatives in the Southwestern U.S. as well as a darker one on the westcoast and Pacific Northwest. Their ranges may overlap at the boundaries, but it is unlikely to see species completely cross over and populate the others' regions. Like all members of the Elateridae family, Click Beetles get their name from the sound they make when they flip themselves upright. The loud noise is made when it snaps a 'spine' under its thorax. This propels the beetle into the air and helps turn it right-side-up if it is on its back. It may also aid in fleeing from predators in an attack.
Larvae of the Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle are called 'wireworms' and live in decaying plants. They eat other insects living in the same soil. Adults do not eat much, though they have been known to eat the larvae of wood-boring beetles. Adults are often found on pruned trees from mid-spring through autumn. It is not uncommon to see them flying from tree to tree in deciduous forests.