I was greeted by this large insect when I first arrived for my walk. It buzzed by in front of me, and of course I had to follow it for a closer look. It’s an Eastern Eyed Click Beetle, and it’s a fraud. Well, I mean, it’s not really a fraud, but its two big eyes are. The big black spots circled in white are called eye spots, meant to confuse predators, and gullible photographers. They are similar to the markings found on butterflies. The click beetle gets his name from the sound it makes. Wikipedia says the sound results when its spine is snapped into a notch, “producing a violent “click” that can bounce the beetle into the air. Clicking is mainly used to avoid predation, although it is also useful when the beetle is on its back and needs to right itself.” No need to right itself for me, so I didn’t get to experience the clicking sound first hand, but the eye spots were totally distracting–I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
I’m excited to report that I’ve gotten expert help identifying some of the vegetation on the peninsula. John Ward is an area botanist who has agreed to help. It’s wonderful to have names to go with the plants. One native plant that has just started blooming is called Snow on the Prairie. Quoting from the Native Plant Society of Texas, “Snow-on-the prairie is a single, stout, hairy, 3 to 5-foot stem which splits, midway up the stem, into a perfect triangular set of (three) branches. With ample moisture, these three branches may grow 6 to 10 inches taller and split into additional sets of three branches...A single plant is intriguing, but a colony is breathtaking.” I agree, especially as I witness new flowers each day beginning to fill the open space with white. Beautiful, and captivating to see them swaying in the wind. A special thanks to John for his help, and there will be more coming soon.