Subject: Big Beatle
Location: Middle Tennessee
May 17, 2017 10:04 am
I live in the upper Cumberland platue area. I’m seeing these weird looking Beatles more and more in this area. Can you please tell me what they kind of bug this is. Thank you.
Dear A. Navarro,
This is an Eyed Elater, Alaus oculatus, the largest North American Click Beetle. It is universally believed that the striking “eye spots” are protective markings that fool predators like birds into thinking the beetle is a threat as opposed to a tasty morsel. According to BugGuide: “Eggs are laid in soil. Larvae predators of beetle larvae in decaying wood, especially hardwoods. Pupation is in unlined cell underground or in rotting wood.” If you live near a wooded area with rotting logs, it might explain the spike in the numbers of Eyed Elaters you are encountering.