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Eastern-eyed Click Beetle

Here's looking at you and you and you! Ever feel like something is staring at you while walking through the parks? Maybe it is an Eastern-eyed Click Beetle, Alaus oculatus? This intriguing insect was found in some mulch at Chrisholm Historic Farmstead. Don't be alarmed by the two large false eye spots on its head area. They are an adaptation to scare would be predators away. These "eyes" help us to identify this beetle out of 800 species of click beetles found in NA.

Other fun names for this beetle are: snapping beetles, skipjacks and springbeetles. It is obvious why this insect is called "eyed" but why "click"? When an Eyed Click Beetle is threatened, it will bend its head and prothorax backward and then straighten out quickly with a snapping motion. This force causes a clicking noise and physically launches the beetle four times its body length into the air.

If the false eyes and clicking doesn't scare predators like amphibians, reptiles and birds away, the next action might do the trick. When the beetle lands on its back, it may tuck in its antennae and six legs and play 'dead'. Several predators will not eat their prey unless it is alive and moving.

Try jumping 4x higher than you are? If you are 3 feet tall, then you have to jump 12 feet up in the air. Can you do it?

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