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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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Elateridae
          Genus: Alaus
            Species: oculatus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Alaus oculatus
Other Name(s): Big-Eyed Click beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 51mm (0.98in to 1.99in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; gray
Descriptors: eyespot, speckled, noise, large, flying, flip
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
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Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
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Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
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Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
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Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
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Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.