Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What is this

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Question
Black bug
Black bug  
I found this bug crawling on my kitchen counter. It's maybe around the size of a penny in Northeast Ohio

Answer
Hi, Hayley:

Thank you for including the image with your question.

The insect is called a "click beetle," one of many, many species in the family Elateridae:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/115

These beetles fly well and are often attracted to lights at night.  They frequently come indoors through open doors, windows, cracks and crevices.  They are harmless.

Grab one and it may easily slip through your fingers as they are sometimes covered in slippery scales or hairs, or are so smooth and bullet-shaped they defy gripping.  They can also snap a spine into a groove on their "chest," making the "clicking" sound that gives them their name.  This maneuver can often startle or jar a predator into releasing the insect.

The clicking trick can also propel a beetle into the air if it is belly-up.  A couple clicks and it can flip itself over.

Thanks for sharing your discovery.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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