Cucujus clavipes

Another species commonly found while peeling bark is the brightly colored Cucujus clavipes. Its flattened body is adapted for life in the tight space under loose bark. They are thought to feed on mites and small insects but relatively little is known about their biology otherwise. 

Cucujus clavipes

The larvae of C. clavipes are similarly flattened, though not as vividly colored, are instead a light shade of orange. 

Cucujus clavipes larva

Any collector of insects or similar fauna is familiar with the thrill of coming across a new or rare find – even old familiar species on occasion. Few beetles which reside under bark rarely provoke such a visceral reaction, but something about the loud color and unusual shape of C. clavipes always elicits that sudden jolt of excitement, particularly in the often bleak winter months.

For more information, check out the BugGuide page, American Beetles description of the family, the Cedar Creek NHA website, and this page on the family.

Additionally, here is an interesting article on the freezing tolerance of Cucujus clavipes


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