I already did an entry about the family Elateridae, but I received a very recognizable click beetle from Kit's mom in Virginia. It is the species Alaus oculatus, or the Eyed Click Beetle. Unlike the tiny brown click-beetles we find here on the west coast, which are barely 1/2 inch long, the Eyed Click Beetle is 25-45mm long, and is decorated by white specks and eye spots: large black circles outlined in white. It is commonly found in deciduous forests and woodlands. It can be found most of the year, but most commonly in the spring and summer. The larvae are predatory, feeding on the larvae of other insects, particularly boring beetles like Cerambycids. The adults may feed on nectar and plant juices, are winged, and are attracted to lights.
Coleoptera; Polyphaga; Elateroidea; Elateridae; Agrypninae; Alaus oculatus
Common Names: (Eastern) Eyed Click Beetle, Eyed Elater
I always liked click beetles as a kid - they were harmless, flicked their bodies interestingly...I had never imagined they could get as large as this. It truly is a remarkable insect. The one pictured above is approximately 40mm long, and is actually the largest species of click beetle. Most elaterids are mottled-gray/brown/black and reach lengths of 12-30mm.