A natural history blog by Christian Alessandro Perez-Martinez. Change ). P hoto by Sarah Rayner Click beetles are fascinating! Normally the white scales fully encircle the eyespots, so it’s likely the beetle has escaped an attack from a predator. Accordingly, eyespots are often dark in the center, strongly contrasting with a bright outer ring. Alaus oculatus, commonly called the eastern eyed click beetle or eyed elater, is a species of click beetle. Hopefully it can somehow realign itself, so it can go on to use its click when in peril. The eyespots on the pronotum make predators hesitate to attack. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Texas eyed click beetle was first described in 1832 by the English entomologist Frederick William Hope (1797-1862); the common eyed click beetle (A. oculatus) was first described in 1758 by the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778). Cone-shaped microstructures are arranged vertically within the eyespots to effectively scatter incident light and increase the amount of light transmitted into the cuticle. Other names include elaters, snapping beetles, spring beetles or skipjacks. The click beetle is also “eye catching”. So, the click beetle’s body glints in the sunlight when viewed at an angle, but the eyespots remain uniformly black. Eyed click beetles are no exception. This beetle gets its name from the clicking sound the overturned beetle makes when it flips itself into the air and hopefully lands upright. Cone-shaped microstructures are arranged vertically within the eyespots to effectively scatter incident light and increase the amount of light transmitted into the cuticle. SC: Well, I’ve had them click right out of my hand. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Elateridae or click beetles (or "typical click beetles" to distinguish them from the related families Cerophytidae and Eucnemidae) are family of beetles. Eyed Click Beetle. For all of these potential explanations, it is advantageous for eyespots to be as noticeable as possible to effectively grab a predator’s attention. If you look closely at this beetle you will notice the white ring around each eyespot is incomplete. Although this Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus) looks ferocious with its large, black “eyespots” (actual eyes are below antennae), it is harmless to humans. The huge false eyespots make it readily identifiable; it is thought these startle predators into thinking they are confronting an … Found on my doorstep, photographed on a nearby dead and burnt tree. They are a cosmopolitan beetle family characterized by the unusual click mechanism they possess. While handling the beetle, I noticed it actually couldn’t ‘click’ when flexing its body, and while feeding the beetle it would curiously bend its body repetitively as if trying to click. Many hypotheses have been thrown around regarding the evolution of adaptive value of false eyespots in insects, e.g. According to bugguide.net, there are six Alaus species in North America, one, appropriately named Alaus myops. (1) eyespots on nonvital body regions may redirect a predatory attack, (2) the sudden unveiling of eyespots may induce a startle response in a predator, (3) eyespots may increase the bearer’s apparent size, and (4) eyespots may convey to a predator that it has been spotted, reducing the predator’s motivation to continue its pursuit. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out /  The click beetle is also “eye catching”. The last idea has received much less discussion in the literature, but seems promising to me. Eyed click beetles are no exception. The beetle accomplishes this by snapping its fingerlike spine. The impressive Eastern Eyed Elater or Big-eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) fell onto a burdock leaf as the BugLady mowed the grass nearby. In fact, the composition of the eyespots differ dramatically from the rest of the beetle’s black body, achieving almost complete absorption of light (~96%). Some people know them as skipjacks too. This family was defined by William Elford Leach (1790–1836) in 1815. And it’s really impressive when you hold an eyed click beetle, if you hold them carefully by the lower portion of their body, you can see their fore-body snapping back and forth, and it makes a very loud click. The eyed click beetle, Alaus oculatus (Linnaeus), reaches 1-½ inches in length and is beautifully marked with prominent oval eye spots on the pronotum and mottled gray wing covers. ( Log Out /  In the former three cases, super black is presumed to enhance conspicuousness against adjacent color patches, while in the latter three it likely serves for camouflage. ( Log Out /  At up to 2 inches long, it is one of the largest known "click" beetles in the family Elateridae. Together with the ironclad beetle (Zopherus nodulosus), eyed click beetles (Alaus oculatus) were the most iconic beetles for me growing up in Texas, so a few weeks ago in Missouri I was happy to find this click beetle right on my doorstep. According to bugguide.net, there are six Alaus species in North America, one, appropriately named Alaus myops. It has two large black eyespots, each one surrounded by … The impressive Eastern Eyed Elater or Big-eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) fell onto a burdock leaf as the BugLady mowed the grass nearby. However, no behavioral data exists for click beetles to help understand functional significance of their eyespots. Like all members of the click beetle, or Elateridae, family, it gets its name from the sound it makes when it flips itself upright.

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