What is this?
I found this in a maple log I was splitting for firewood. The tree center was wet, had ants, beetles and this creature in it. I am not sure if it was eating the ants, beetles or the wood. The insect was set on a light colored piece of wood, so as to make a nice background for a picture. It had its legs and antennea tucked underneath its shell. The critter must have felt not hidden enough on that light colored wood, it somehow snapped its legs against the wood and somersaulted about 2 1/2 feet away. I put it on this piece of bark which seemed to comfort it enough to unfold its legs and antennea so I could snap a good picture of it. I put it in the wood scrap pile after the pictures were taken. I cut this tree in the far east side of St. Clair county which is in southeast lower Michigan.
Thank you for your eyewitness account of the behavior which puts the Eyed Elater in the Click Beetle Family. The beetles are capable of snapping their bodies and flipping in the air. They never get caught on their backs. The Eyed Elater is the largest North American Click Beetle, and its scientific name is Alaus oculatus. It is often found in rotting timber.