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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



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The harmless Eastern-eyed Click Beetle's large eyespots simultaneously distract and mesmerize.



Updated: 09/25/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Elateridae
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          Genus: Alaus
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            Species: oculatus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Alaus oculatus
Other Name(s): Big-eyed Click beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 51mm (0.98" to 2.00")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; gray
Descriptors: eyespot, speckled, noise, large, flying, flip
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 25mm and 51mm
Lo: 25mm
Md: 38mm
Hi: 51mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Eastern-eyed Click Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Eastern-eyed Click Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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