Eastern eyed click beetle makes a surprise appearance

The unexpected sighting adds the joy of discovery to a hike on Wauponsee Glacial Trail.

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An eastern eyed click beetle on the Wauponsee Glacial Trail.

An eastern eyed click beetle on the Wauponsee Glacial Trail.

Dale Bowman

An odd buzz erupted from the vegetation along the Wauponsee Glacial Trail on June 29 as I finished hiking the southernmost mile. I guessed an out-of-sync cicada, but I pulled out my cell phone on the off chance of a photo.

The unknown bug flew at me, then dodged and sat in the gravel just off my feet. I moved subtly for a photo, but as quick as a frontier gunman hip-shooting his Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolver. The bug stayed sitting, I leaned in a for close-up. It stayed on, so I opened the iNaturalist Seek app, which identified it as an eastern eyed click beetle.

I had never seen one, but it matched my insect books.

Derek Rosenberger, an associate professor at Olivet Nazarene University and co-director of Olivet Biological Sanctuary, confirmed the ID.

“I just saw one the other day, too!” he emailed. “I love these as, one, they are really cool looking and big, and, two, they remind me of the species of click beetle we used to see in the rainforest in Belize when I lived there that had eyes that actually glowed! You’d see these two glowing eyes moving into the forest ahead of you during night hikes. Spooky.”

Curiosity as much as observation is the secret to enjoying the outdoors for a lifetime.

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