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 a similar-looking relative in the southwestern U.S. called the Southwestern Eyed Click Beetle, as well as cousins on the West Coast and in the 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.
Scientific Name: Alaus oculatus
Other Name(s): Big-Eyed Click beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 51mm (0.98in to 1.99in)
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.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.