Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The Eyes Have it
These are some of the craziest looking beetles in the insect world. Those large "eyes" make them look so intimidating, or funny depending upon your point of view. The first time I ever spotted one of these it gave me a start, I'd never seen anything like it. I scooped it into a jar to show my nephew that was going to be visiting later in the day. I retrieved the jar to show him and discovered the beetle had died! I opened the lid and peered in at the beetle, it was at this exact moment this little faker decided to come back to life. When he flipped his body straight up, narrowly missing my nose that was still in the opening of the jar....I almost had cardiac arrest! Needless to say I screamed, nearly dropped the jar, which in turn made my nephew scream. This was my introduction to this beetle. I let the little trouble maker go, deciding I wanted nothing more to do with a beetle that could practically scare me out of my britches. The beetle pictured above is only the second of these beetles I've seen in my yard. For all I know it might be the same one from before. This one had hunkered down for the winter inside an old tree stump in our backyard. This one didn't escape the killing jar. He was added to a collection I am compiling for FFA. This particular insect happens to be on their list of insects that they need to be able to identify. I also know that these beetles bite. Last summer my brother-in-law captured one to bring me and it bit into his finger and would not let go. He shook his hand and it still clung to him ferociously. It ended up drawing blood before he finally dislodged it. So if the eyes don't scare u, the back flip will. If that doesn't work they will chew on you. The little brown click beetle pictured on the cone flower seems so different from his big mean bully of a cousin., but he is a click beetle. Much tinier and no distinctive eye spots, but he does have the long slender torpedo shape that is typical of click beetles. All click beetles have a special mechanism on their lower body that allows them to flip themselves over when being disturbed. It is an effective way to play dead. Once the potential danger has passed they flip themselves back over and away they go about their business. Look for the eyed click beetle near decaying wood. They use this as hiding places and to deposit eggs.