Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

Friday, May 22, 2009

What the Heck is That?!?!?

Some things make you pause, and run into the house find out, "What the heck is that?"
I headed to to see if I could find it...I figured it looked more like a beetle than anything else...and I was right. It is an "Eyed Elater." It was LOUD when it flew past me before landing on the fencepost a few feet from where I was sitting. It didn't seem to annoyed that I approached it to take it's picture.
So this is what I found...

Common Name: Eyed Elater
Other Common Names:
Big-eyed Elater and Eyed Click Beetle
Genus / Species: Alaus oculatus
Size: Adults 1½ inch (Mine was closer to 2 inches);
Larva up to 2 inches long
Type of Beneficial: Insect Predator
Type of Metamorphosis: Immature stages appear different from adults
(complete metamorphosis)
Beneficial Stage(s): Larval stages are predators
Prey: Larva are ferocious meat-eaters that dines on many other noxious wood-boring larvae, including those of wood-boring beetles.
Range : Eastern and central North America--widespread. South Dakota east to Quebec, south to Texas, Florida.
Habitat: Deciduous/mixed forests and woodlands
Season: Much of year in south. Most frequently seen in spring and summer.
The "click" part of there name comes from a skill they have for righting themselves if turned on their backs. With a spring loaded hinge in there back, they are able to "click" and propel themselves 4 feet in the air to escape a predator or get right side up again. (I did not try turning it upside down)
Glad I took my camera out with me today!

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