eyed click beetle

(Alaus oculatus)

Conservation Status
eyed click beetle
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


At 1¾ long eyed click beetle may be the largest click beetle in our area. With its boldly-outlined eye spots it is certainly the most distinctive.

Adults are 1 to 1¾ long and black with mottled patterns of minute, whitish, dot-like plates (scales). The body is long, thin, and somewhat flattened.

The plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is black with scattered whitish scales and a pair of large, velvety, black spots. Each spot is boldly outlined by a dense ring of whitish scales. These “eye spots” are large and conspicuous, about one-third the length of the pronotum, and give this beetle its common name. They may serve to frighten off potential predators. The scales cover less than half the total surface of the pronotum. The hind angles of the pronotum are sharp and backward pointing.

The hardened wing covers (elytra) are black, They have several longitudinal ridges and furrows, and scattered whitish scales. The ends of the elytra are rounded, and do not terminate in spines.

On the underside, an elongated lobe on the prosternum fits into a groove in the mesosternum, allowing the insect to produce an audible click. This feature gives the insect family its common name.

The antennae have eleven segments, are sawtoothed, and are attached close to the eyes.

Unlike most click beetle larvae (wireworms), the the eyed click beetle wireworm is carnivorous.




Total Length: 1 to 1¾


Similar Species


Deciduous and mixed woods.




Adults active spring to September




If put on its back, the beetle uses its click mechanism catapult itself up to six inches in the air, righting itself and potentially escaping a predator.

They are attracted to light.

Adults are found on vegetation. Larvae are often found in rotting stumps of oak, cherry, and apple.


Life Cycle


Females lay eggs in the soil. Offspring spend 2 to 5 years in the larval stage before pupating in a rotting log or stump, or in the soil. They emerge they following spring as adults.


Larva Food


Larvae of other insects, especially wood-boring beetles, in the soil.


Adult Food


Flower nectar. Adults feed little, if at all.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30.




Widespread in eastern United States except the southeast.



Coleoptera (beetles)  


Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)  




Elateroidea (click, firefly and soldier beetles)  


Elateridae (click beetles)  











Common Names


big-eyed click beetle

eastern eyed click beetle

eyed click beetle

wireworm (larva)











The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



On plants, a small, usually flat and thin, modified leaf resembling the scale of a fish. On animals, a small rigid plate growing out of an animal’s skin to provide protection. On butterflies and moths, a plate on the surface of the wing providing coloration.






Visitor Photos

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Shawn Kislenger

Click Beetle found on South Center Lake

  eyed click beetle   eyed click beetle
Sonja Watson
  eyed click beetle   eyed click beetle
Dan W. Andree

“Eyed Click Beetle” a small fly facing it.

  eyed click beetle    

Side view of the Eyed Click Beetle

  eyed click beetle    
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos






Visitor Videos

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Dan W. Andree
  “A Firefly and an Eyed Click Beetle”
Uploaded Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:48 PM EST

Some interesting interaction between a Firefly and an Eyed Click Beetle. I had seen fireflies at night but rarely during the day. Interesting it is a beetle and not a type of fly. This was also the first time I had ever seen an Eyed Click Beetle. The Eyed Click Beetle eventually gets rid of the overly curious Firefly

Other Videos
  Eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) - This beetle belongs in the circus
Chris Egnoto - The Naturalist's Path

Published on Jun 20, 2014

My friend Bill and I were out looking for invertebrates and we found this guy under a log. It is a very large click beetle. The time of year is mid May. This is shot with my brand new sony cybershot DSC-wx150 so I finally got to try some test footage shooting in MP4.

  Eyed Click Beetle

Published on Jan 20, 2013

Attempting to pick up an eyed click beetle. See more animals on my website: http://www.epochcatcher.com/ Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EpochCatcher/ Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EpochCatcher Follow me on Tumblr: http://epochcatcher.tumblr.com/ Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/epochcatcher/

  Eyed Click Beetle - What Do They Look Like?
Carteret County Video Project

Published on Jun 27, 2017

The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus) is dark black in color with two large black circles outlined in white. The body is speckled white and the insect is known for the clicking sound they make when are upside down or being threatened by a predator.

The click beetle is not poisonous, venomous, and does not sting. There are three variants according to entomologist in the United States.

The beetle neck will flip the body in to the air and they land on their feet when they accidentally get on their back.

The large round spots on the head are called eyespots and all are black in color or dark with white splotches that resemble paint being splattered.

The eastern eyed click beetle does fly but does not sting and people who study entomology say that they are not venomous or poisonous.

  Eyed Click Beetle.mpg

Published on Jun 8, 2012

Eyed Click Beetle
Arabia Mountain, Georgia
1080p 60fps
Song from the American Beauty Score - Thomas Newman

A Production Productions Production




Visitor Sightings

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Shawn Kislenger

Location: Chisago

Click Beetle found on South Center Lake

eyed click beetle

Mark Melotik
late May 2020

Location: Ramsey In Anoka County

Atracted to white basketball backboard and white shelf we were painting in yard.

Sonja Watson

Location: Mattson Park in Isanti, MN

eyed click beetle

Dan W. Andree
June 2017

Location: It was on a bush out at my brothers home in rural Norman County - MN.

“Eyed Click Beetle” a small fly facing it.

eyed click beetle

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






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