Canon Pro 90 IS
7mm at f6.3
1/500 second, ISO "Auto" (don't ask me why it was set for Auto)

My buddies
eyed click beetles Alaus oculatus

I love this picture. Initially, I think the viewer gets the impression that these guys are exaggerated in size by the slight fisheye effect of a wide-angle lens used up close, but then they're compared against my fingers, and it becomes clear – they really are that big!

These are eyed click beetles (Alaus oculatus) and not uncommon in North Carolina. They're harmless, the adults eating plant juices, the grubs eating rotting wood. But they're also a very peculiar thing to find flying behind you, following. Their bodies are so heavy that they fly upright, extended vertically, and with the body length and wingspread it's an extremely odd sight. Yes, even odder than just sitting there.

Another species of these is called Alaus myops – it has smaller "eyespots." Smaller eyes, myopia... get it? Scientists are a scream.