MBP - Eyed Click Beetle

The Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus), or Eyed Elater, is one of our most impressive and distinctive beetle species. The MBP community has documented it in all 23 counties and Baltimore City, but we need records for plenty of USGS quads in western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. That's likely just a coverage issue.

The species is named after the two large spots on the pronotum that resemble large eyes. These large "eye spots" likely deter predators. The larvae live in wood and are predators of other beetles and beetle larvae. The adults feed mainly on nectar.

Eyed Click Beetles are harmless. Aside from their eye spots, their main defense is the same as all click beetles - a novel approach to catapulting themselves out of danger. According to Wikipedia, "A spine on the prosternum can be snapped into a corresponding notch on the mesosternum, producing a violent 'click' that can bounce the beetle into the air. Clicking is mainly used to avoid predation, although it is also useful when the beetle is on its back and needs to right itself."

📸: (c) timboucher, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) - Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/10/2021).

More at Maryland Biodiversity Project:
https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/view/10225

Bill

Posted on July 11, 2024 03:33 AM by billhubick billhubick

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