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A large female Alaus lusciosus, one of the southwestern species of eyed elaters.  Similar to A. zunianus, apart from some slight differences in the markings.

A_lusciosus.jpg

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Here in the East, our local species (A. oculatus) starts flying around the last week of May. I love this genus, and this picture is making me eager to see them again.

I see that some people on the forums have tried keeping and breeding Alaus so I'm reading back posts. If anyone wants to share updated knowledge and experience it would help me decide if I might try captive breeding myself. I know Elaterids can take a long time, so I don't want to commit until I feel some confidence. 

Thanks again for posting this nice photo! Here's a local bruiser from a couple years ago. Wish i had taken a nice dorsal shot like @Goliathus's above  ...2121077311_35176883456_d668c8acaa_ocopy.thumb.jpg.e5c8c88a97f22fef523d302b97b6f4ef.jpg

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Yes, Alaus is a very interesting genus with at least 6 species in the US.  The genus Chalcolepidius, with nearly a dozen species found in the US, are equally impressive in their own way and if anyone could ever work out how to reliably captive breed any of them, that would be quite an accomplishment.  C. apacheanus and the similar-looking C. webbi are the largest US species.  Like those of Alaus, the larvae of Chalcolepidius are predatory.  They live in decaying wood where they feed on other beetle larvae and termites.  I've collected the iridescent green C. smaragdinus on Baccharis plants in the Santa Rita Mtns. (AZ).

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I expect that Alaus would generally not be difficult to breed. I have been keeping Pyrophorus noctilucus larvae (which were themselves several generations captive bred) for approximately a year, and aside from a few instances where I neglected to keep the humidity up in some of the larval cups, the larvae have been an absolute breeze to raise. Early instars fed on rotted hardwood and fish/dog/cat kibble. Once they got big enough, I separated them and started feeding them small mealworms. I was feeding them once every week or two, but the first three adults I got from this effort all pupated at about half the size I expected. It turns out I wasn't feeding them enough, so I have started feeding them at least twice a week.

If anyone ends up collecting a pair (or three!) of Alaus in the next month or so, I'd be happy to buy some. I'd love to try breeding them.

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Alaus larvae are carnivorous. I was unable to get mine to eat pellet food, and I had to give them freshly killed insect prey. 

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Alaus grubs aren't too difficult to rear or feed, they just require fresh invertebrate prey, you can bury smashed bits of mealworms or roaches for smaller instars, and can move on to live prey for larger ones.

Coconut fiber seems to work fine for a substrate, but when it comes time to pupate, they'll seek out large pieces of dead wood to bore into, (doesn't have to be rotten, just dead). In my experience with A.melanops, their larvae just won't pupate without this wood chunk, but apparently other Alaus will settle on top of their substrate and pupate there after a while. 

Adults just eat fresh fruits, and would probably accept beetle jellies too. Obviously larvae need to be separated from a young age, as they are predatory and quite cannibalistic... 

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