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Eastern Clickeye Beetle
Alaus oculatus

What are all of the things you’ve ever wanted to know about click beetles? Well, they got their name because they store a bunch of energy in a click mechanism in their body, which “consists of a stout spine on the prosternum and a matching groove in the mesosternum.” When they are in danger, these mechanism releases (creating a click sound) and they are catapulted into the air eventually on their feet to safety. (I remember my grandfather, showing this to me when I was a kid; he would hold the beetle from one end so it would click, but not be able to get away. I saw it fold in half almost 90 degrees in this action as part of the mechanism.

One nice thing about these beetles: when they are in their larval form, which is for about 2 years, they eat a lot of wood-boring beetle grubs – in fact some caged specimens were so voracious they devoured more than 200 larvae each! That’s a hungry little larvae.

Alternate Names: Eyed Elater, Big Eyed Click Beetle
Size: 1" - 1.8" long
Family: Elateridae (Click Beetle Family)
Habitat: Deciduous/mixed forests and woodlands 
Identification: Black with white speckles, and two large oval patches framed in white on each side which resemble eyes, a form of self-mimicry.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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