Gut Rumbles

June 17, 2005

click beetles

I collected insects when I was a boy and when I showed my top'o the line framed and mounted specimens for a Science Fair project in 1964, I not only won a Blue Ribbon, but I had my showcase displayed at the Coastal Empire Fair that year, right down the hay-paved walkway in the Animal Exhibit Quonset hut, not 20 feet from a blue-ribbon hog and the best egg-laying chicken in Georgia.

I was proud of that accomplishment and I still am.

I once caught a really big eyed elator and I couldn't bear to just kill and mount him in my collection box at the time. I waited until just before the Science Fair to do that. In the meantime, I kept the bug as a pet.

If you look at the photo on that link, you can see why the beetles are called "eyed" (they appear to be a predator looking at YOU when a bug-eater is searching for dinner). They also are a member of the "click-beetle" family, which makes them a lot of fun to play with. They come in all sizes, but the BIG elators are more amusing than the small ones are.

Take one of those bugs and lay it flat on its back. It'll wave its legs helplessly in the air for a couple of seconds as it tries to turn over. When it realizes that it can't turn over to get back on its feet, it'll perform some kind of abdomen and thorax move that makes a loud "CLICK" noise, almost like someone snapping their fingers.

The bug will shoot straight up in the air about 12" and come down landing on all six feet. Then, it will try to haul ass to get away from you. I did that kind of stuff long before video games came along. I had LIVE entertainment. I wish only that I could have caught one of those back in my dope-smoking stoner days. Can you imagine how much fun THAT would be?


"Whoa, dude. How does he DO that?"

"I dunno--- but let's watch him do it again."

I wonder how many people today even know what a click-beetle is or how it got its name.


Whoah dude ! That clicking and jumping thing is what the women do nowadays when I rub their belly while they're laying on their back. Funny how things change as you get older and larger. Does age = waist size after 50?

Posted by: assrot on June 17, 2005 09:33 AM

My son, 9, is fascinated by all insects...those click beetles seem to hold his attention longer than the rest...

Posted by: Kellie on June 17, 2005 10:37 AM

One of my favorites is Popcorn Shrimp. I was cruising the Inside Passage to Alaska with my girlfriend in a 20' sailboat forty some odd years ago and one night when we were anchored up we heard popcorn popping. Shined a light into the water and saw a huge school of little shrimp swimming around us. When they swam they made popping sounds just like popcorn. Cool.


Posted by: Gerry on June 17, 2005 01:57 PM

Now I know. Thank goodness, that was driving me up a wall. I never heard of a click beetle before. Guess they don't live in Yankee country.

Posted by: Amy on June 18, 2005 09:49 AM
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