Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Green-Eyed Click Beetle



Well that's a traditional lightning bug or firefly in the picture there. They make a cool yellow light from their tails that turns off and on, I suppose depending on how horny they are. They are found most everywhere east of the Rockies. If it would rain just a little, our bayside part of the Island would be covered in the them ... the trade-off is absolutely no mosquitos.

But what I wanted to write about was the green-eyed click beetle. I have been searching all over the web but very iittle is there (the rock band Firefly is much more common). At a little over a half inch long, they are very difficult to photograph with my prehistoric digital equipment. Let's just say that they have two neon-green eyes that glow ten times brighter than any lightning bug!

Honestly, I asked my wife to check it out and she agreed they were really cool. They have two headlights exactly like a Chevy Neon. We've had hundreds of them here for some reason. I pride myself on stealing a non-copyrighted picture, knowing the taxonomy, and learning all that kind of stuff, In this case I am totally stumped. If anyone knows of these rascals please feel free to chime in.

It turns out that the click-beetle family has quite a few relatives all over the world, maybe 3000 variants, some large enough to eat snails (Malaysia). All are carnivorous (cool!). Many have glowing eyes, or rather a patch just behind the eyes that can glow red, green, yellow or neon at night. There seems to be a feeling that some of these click beetles in Mexico can be quite poisonous ... but these local ones have been down my shirt and in my wife's hair with no apparent ill effects. We save them and blow them away downwind.

I can see why folks feel creepy about these critters, though, as they use an enzyme called Luciferase to make the light source. Maybe that's it.

14 comments:

Ex-Manissean said...

Never noticed the green-eyed click beetle up here. But this summer's been lean on bugs with the heat and drought, great not having to put up with the mosquitos though. I'm always on the hunt for large bugs as treats for our box turtle, especially the ones too fast for him to catch on his own.

everett said...

Hey Sam, Is it called a "click" bug because of a noise it makes? We have one that looks somewhat similar on the Island bug we call it the same name because when you hold it gently between two fingers it snaps it's head and you can feel the click! They will only do it five or six times and then quit. Often wondered if they were doing it to warn me off or thrying to use it as an escape mechanism ala a flea jumping.Keep up the "buggy" posts! My favorite is: family Odonata!

Anonymous said...

I woke up one day and kept hearing a noise, at first I thought it could have been the wind knocking something over, but as the day progressed I kept hearing that same clicking noise, I followed it into my bathroom only to find this alien like beetle. I noticed it jumped, hence the clicking noise, and I was so amused observing it and its neon green eyes. I like you have not found much information, but I did watch an interestinf special on insects, and came to the concluded that they may be combustible beetles, probably spraying something for its prey or its predators. It is really cool to read they are common in your area. I've only had one encounter and set it free.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. We have seen this bug 2 times this summer. We were shocked at the intensity of the neon light it gave off. Not only the eyes but around the body. It dissapeared into the grass so we never got to see what the body looks like.

Paul said...

Hi I have had two separate moments with this bug. One near the beach and the other near the bay in a bush. They are quite beautiful. I can confirm that there are many here in Miami. I have never seen them before. It could be because of the rain. And heat.

Anonymous said...

Saw one about a month ago in my plants. It was dark and all you saw were the bright neon green eyes. It started to crawl really fast and then flew away. Never saw another again and I live in Ft.Lauderdale for 32 yrs.

kim said...

I just saw one crawling around my apt! It was so scary! I didn't hear any clicking just saw the green eyes! At first I thought I was hallucinting but I turned the light on and there it was. Then it flew! I live between houston and galveston Texas.

Anonymous said...

Well I have had 3 encounters with this bug and it scared me to death. I'm currently living in Miami and somehow they keep finding their way into my apartment and one time in my pants. Their green glowing eyes freak me out especially at night time. I pray God they aren't poisonous because they have crawled on me at least twice and my boyfriend once.

Anonymous said...

Saw one in the middle of the night. It was pitch dark and it was on the floor. The eyes were unbelievable! Very spooky looking. This guy was on the 6th floor of a condo in Ft. Myers, FL

Anonymous said...

I live just outside the city of Key West, I saw that bug tonite, crawling near o brick at the bottom of my stairs. Never seen anything like it.

Anonymous said...

thought we were being invaded,had just watched the movie roswell with martin sheen,went outside to have a smoke,saw a bug with glowing green eyes on fence (creepy),live in big coppit just outside of key west..can sleep now knowing i'm not going to be BEAMED UP..thank god

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has seen these! I just found one inside my house in Vanuatu, South Pacific, and came to google to try to find out what in the world it was. Mine was about 2 inches long and about 3/8 in wide at the widest point. And the eyes glowed bright green! I certainly hope though that the ones here don't bite!!!!

Michelle England said...

I live in Kingsville, Tx, which is about 40 minutes from Corpus Christi. We saw quite a few of these the other night and caught one just so we could get a closer look. They are very cool and i doubt they are dangerous to us in any way because it just sat in my boyfriends hand while he had it then my son took it from him and set it free. It just flew away and joined the others again.

Dog alert to green eyed bug said...

I just woke up at 4 am with my dog pacing all over and not being able to go to sleep. I finally realized that this green eyed creature was crawling in my apt . I live in Miami.
I quickly grabbed two tissues and flushed him down the toilet....hope he can swim, Lol, scary, now I can't sleep and my dog finally went to her bed and is sound asleep.