Friday, August 6, 2021

Eyed Elaters Galore From Bugsincyberspace!

Guys, gals, non-binary folk, I have an announcement to make... Click beetles are SO underrated. 😐 Like, ridiculously so, at least in the pet beetle hobby. How is it that a group of beetles that has many species with brilliant adults, predatory or partially predatory larvae, and very high survival rates in captivity gets little to no attention in the pet trade? It's ridiculous, especially here in the US where we have so many awesome natives! 😲 Well, hopefully this post can serve to sway some people into the small but growing Elateridae breeding hobby, as we take a look at two new species of Alaus "Eyed Elaters" that I got from Peter Clausen at Bugsincyberspace (and SkyIslandAdventures). 

Let's start out with the most impressive of the two IMO, Alaus zunianus, the "Zuni Eyed Elater". Jesse Greene at Shapes In Nature collected a single adult female in Peter's backyard in Sonoita AZ, which Peter then bestowed upon me for hopeful captive breeding! 😁 I am incredibly impressed at the sheer size on this gal, she's about 56 mms long, and THICC as heck! 😂 Seriously, this beetle has got some weight to it! Pretty sure this is the largest of the US Alaus species, and as far as I know they are endemic to Arizona and New Mexico, making it one of the rarest too.

I have her set up in a moderately ventilated container with half an inch of moist flake soil/crushed oak substrate mix, and some hardwood bark pieces for her to hide under and climb on. I will be feeding her fresh fruits, and will keep her at around 74F or so.

I am really really hoping she'll lay some eggs for me, she still looks young and lively, so fingers crossed! The larvae of Alaus, unlike the bioluminescent Pyrophorini click beetles I breed, are fully carnivorous as soon as they hatch, and only feed on other inverts, they won't accept dog food or other protein sources. As such they are a bit more challenging to breed than other Elaterids, and you have to have a keen eye to find and isolate hatchling larvae before they start eating each other... Still, I am up to the challenge, it's certainly worth it for such a stunning species! 😍

Here are some pictures of the special gal:

I just love the high amount of white hairs on her pronotum, which I think is a common characteristic of this species, as is the sparse, splotchy white spotting on the elytra. This has been my dream Alaus species for years, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to breed them myself, and I will keep you all posted on this species, fingers crossed I get a decent amount of larvae! 

And now we have Alaus cf. lusciosus, the "Texas Eyed Elater". As the name would suggest this species is found in TX, specifically south, central, and parts of east TX, but their range also encompasses CO, KS, NM and Mexico. Their easternmost range overlaps with that of A.oculatus, the "Eastern Eyed Elater", however the white markings on the elytra of A.lusciosus are more clumped and patchy than those of A. oculatus, which has smaller, more evenly dispersed white spots.
It can still be a bit hard to differentiate them where their ranges overlap, and these ones were collected in the Dallas Fort Worth area, which is in the overlap range between the two... but they look quite different from most A.oculatus I've seen, and bigger too, so I do think these are true A.lusciosus. Just in case, I'll actually upload pics to Bugguide though, and see what the experts there think.

I received two females from Peter, which being WC have presumably been mated already. I set them up in a moderately ventilated container with half an inch of moist flake soil/crushed oak substrate mix, and some hardwood bark pieces for them to hide under and climb on. I will be feeding them fresh fruits, and will keep them at around 74F or so.

Here are some pictures of one of them:

This gal was only a couple mms shorter than the zunianus, so this species still gets big as heck! Hopefully I get a good amount of offspring from my two females, and can get them established in the hobby! 😄

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, I hope you all enjoyed, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉


  1. Hood luck breeding, Alaus females tend to lay alot

    1. Thanks! Hopefully these females do just that, would love to get these well established in the hobby!

    2. Have you bred Alaus yourself? If so what species, and do you have any tips?