Eastern Eyed Click Beetle

The eastern eyed click beetle is a click beetle that also goes by the names eyed elater, big eyed click beetle, springbeetle, and skipjack. As with other click beetles, it makes a clicking sound as it jumps in the air on being disturbed, enabling it to right itself after being turned over. The nocturnal insect is attracted to lights at night.

Scientific Classification

  • Class:Insecta
  • Order:Coleoptera
  • Family:Elateridae
  • Genus:Alaus
  • Species:A. oculatus

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




Alaus oculatus

The click beetle has an elongated body that is entirely black and covered with tiny scales. It can reach a length of 1-1.8 in (25-45 mm). The pronotum (the dorsal plate of the prothorax) has, on each side, a large oval marking or eyespot made of darker scales with a white outline. That is how the click beetle gets its name. These ‘false eyes’ are a defensive adaptation against its predators by giving the impression of a bigger, formidable animal. Its real eyes are located on its head, behind the antennae. The striped elytra (wing case) are mottled with silvery, whitish scales.

Distribution: Central and North America.

Eastern Eyed Click Beetle Habitat

Habitat: It lives around deciduous forests and in areas with ample hardwood trees like apple, cherry, or oak, especially those with a lot of decaying logs.

Eyed Elater

Do They Bite/Sting: Yes.

Lifespan: 2-5 days.

Predators: Moles, spiders, mantises, and insectivorous birds.

Behavior and Characteristics


The adult beetle derives its nutrition from plant juice and nectar but doesn’t feed much.  

Life Cycle

1. Egg Stage

The eggs are laid on standing deadwood or in the soil.

Eastern Eyed Click Beetle Larvae

2. Larva Stage

The larvae, known as wireworms, are agricultural pests eating plant matter. They also devour the larvae of wood-boring beetles, especially the longhorn beetles. They are up to 2 inches long, yellowish to dark brown, hard-shelled, and jointed.

3. Pupa Stage

The larvae pupate underground or in rotting logs.

4. Adult Stage

After emerging in spring, the adults are commonly seen till September.


Q. Are eastern eyed click beetles dangerous?

Eastern eyed click beetles usually don’t bite and are considered harmless to people and pets. But if they are not handled carefully, they can give a sharp, non-poisonous bite with their strong mandibles. But their first reaction is to try flying away from danger. Biting is their last resort.

Q. Are eastern eyed click beetle good or bad?

Eastern eyed click beetles can be both good and bad. It is because, on the one hand, they consume agricultural plants in their larval stage leading to their labeling as pests. On the other hand, their larvae eat noxious wood-boring beetle larvae that are very harmful to trees. So they are both pests and beneficial insects.

Q. Are eastern eyed click beetles rare?

No, the eyed elater is pretty common in its range. It is neither rare nor endangered.


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