Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ampedus occidentalis

Ampedus occidentalis is a medium-sized click beetle (about a centimeter long) that lives much of its life in the decaying wood of fallen pines. I found this one under the bark of a dead ponderosa pine several miles east of Jackson, California a couple of weeks ago.

There are several species of Ampedus that have this general color pattern - of the black body with pale (almost orange) wing covers. Many of the species have a black spot at the end of the body. In A. occidentalis, the black spots normally do not touch the sides of the wing covers.

The grove of trees where I found it was a mixed conifer forest of ponderosa pine, white fir and incense cedar (with the occasional oak as well) in El Dorado County at about 4,300’ elevation.

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