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Hercules Beetle: All You Need To Know
A Hercules beetle is a saproxylophagous (feeding on rotting wood) as a larva, and a herbivorous adult that belongs to the kingdom of Animalia, phylum Arthropoda, and class Insecta. Its genus is Dynastes, and its species are D. hercules, D. tityus, and D. grantii.
Its length is up to 80 mm, and it weighs about 140 g. It lives in the tropical rain forest of South America, though some species have adapted to dryer habitats in North America, with a lifespan of 18 months spent as larva and 3 months as pupa.
What is Hercules Beetle?
Hercules beetles are among the biggest Rhinoceros Beetles, belonging to the Dynastinae subfamily. The Hercules beetles, which belong to the Dynastes genus, are significantly bigger than other rhinoceros beetles. Furthermore, their two horns have a huge “pincer” form that clearly distinguishes them. Other rhinoceros beetles have a single horn on their head or three or more horns emerging from various parts of their exoskeleton.
Hercules beetles are likewise known for their enormous size. The main Hercules beetle may grow to be over 3.5 inches long, making it one of the world’s biggest beetle species!
Hercules beetles are so named because of their enormous strength. Rhinoceros beetles may hold up to 30 times their own weight in their bodies. When you compare this to the Hercules beetle, which can carry up to 850 times its own weight, you can see why these beetles are known as the world’s strongest insects.
Hercules beetles, like all other beetles, begin their lives as eggs. They then hatch into a larval stage (also known as a grub) that feeds on rotting wood. Before it is ready to pupate, the larvae will consume and develop for almost a year.
The adult beetle will emerge from its previous exoskeleton after undergoing metamorphosis as a pupa for 2-3 months. Before heading out to locate food and a partner, the beetle will let its new shell solidify for many hours.
Hercules beetles are sexually dimorphic, with enormous horns on only the males. The males battle each other with these massive horns. Males are chemically and vocally drawn to females, and ladies frequently attract a large number of males.
The two guys fight each other by attempting to hoist each other up. In captivity, this frequently leads to men raising and bashing each other into the ground until one of them becomes exhausted.
These battles may be resolved more quickly in the wild. One explanation is that because Hercules beetles frequently battle on tree branches, the first male picked up is frequently abandoned. This shortens the struggle and permits the victorious male to mate with the female.
She will lay up to 100 eggs near a fresh source of decaying wood after a month of gestation. The Hercules Beetle comes in a variety of species, each with its own set of characteristics.
Hercules Beetle Species
i. Hercules Beetle: Dynastes Hercules
South and Central America are home to this Hercules beetle species. It’s most commonly seen in tropical rain forests with a lot of trees. Hercules beetles thrive in this environment because their larvae devour decaying trees.
The Hercules Beetle is the most massive of the Dynastes family. This species’ larvae may fill a person’s hand and weigh about a pound! While mature beetles lose weight during metamorphosis, they may still grow to be about 4-inches long and apply nearly as much force.
ii. Eastern Hercules Beetle: Dynastes Tityus
The Eastern Hercules Beetle is a smaller version of the Hercules Beetle that is endemic to Eastern North America. These beetles have evolved to deciduous trees in temperate climates rather than tropical species.
iii. Western Hercules Beetle: Dynastes Grantii
The Western Hercules Beetle, like the South American Hercules Beetle, is somewhat smaller. The Western Hercules Beetle is found in western North America and has evolved to thrive in arid environments.
Fun Facts About Hercules Beetle!
Hercules beetles are not only interesting pets, but they can also show a variety of fascinating biological topics! Take a look at a couple of them:
Beetles are a great illustration of full transformation. As an organism matures from a juvenile to an adult, it undergoes full metamorphosis, which involves the complete transformation of its body. Hercules beetles begin their lives as grubs and must develop into pupas for three months before becoming sexually mature adult beetles.
Many other insects, including Hercules beetles, undergo full transformation. Butterflies, for example, create a chrysalis — a sort of hanging pupa – during their transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Moths, flies, bees, ants, wasps, and all other beetles are the same way.
Any insect that develops a pupa or chrysalis has completed its metamorphosis. Many other insects, on the other hand, go through partial metamorphosis. Insects such as grasshoppers, ticks, and spiders generally hatch from eggs with all of the adult’s characteristics. Instars, nymphs, and juveniles are the phases in which they shed their exoskeletons as they grow.
When the insects reach a particular size, they acquire sexual organs and are able to breed. Because the insects maintain a similar shape during multiple stages of metamorphosis, this type of metamorphosis is referred to as incomplete metamorphosis.
The huge, frightening horns observed in male Hercules beetles are the exact reason they make interesting pets. Hercules beetle fights are a popular type of entertainment in several Asian nations and parts of the Western Hemisphere.
However, because the beetles are battling outside of their native environment, they are more likely to be harmed. When one beetle has the upper hand and dislodges his opponent off a limb in the wild, the winner is frequently decided instantly. These insects have wings and can fly a long way without harming themselves.
The loser just returns to the tree and attempts it again. Beetles continuously pick each other up and pound into the ground in a confined environment before one insect retreats. The Hercules beetle can exert roughly 30 pounds of force on an insect.
The insect that loses can suffer a life-threatening injury. Many creatures compete for sexual partners, including Hercules Beetles. Males are usually the ones competing, whether it’s in terms of sound, strength, endurance, or pure savagery.
In fact, sexual selection is such a powerful driving factor that it is believed to have aided the evolution of the Hercules Beetle’s gigantic horns. Males with the capacity to dislodge other males were given sexual preference, and females gradually chose larger and larger horns through time!
Hercules Beetle as a Pet
Insects are maintained as pets in many regions of the world, which may appear strange to some cultures. Crickets, dragonflies, butterflies, cockroaches, ants, beetles, and nearly every other insect have been kept as pets. Insects, unlike many other wild creatures, reproduce rapidly. A single wild captive bug may generate a whole line of pet beetles.
Insects also make excellent first pets for children. They’re simple to care for, offer an opportunity to learn about many sorts of biology, and the majority may be handled securely. Most insects also have a brief life cycle, which is beneficial for children who are prone to lose interest in a pet.
While it is always a good idea to do your homework before getting a pet, Hercules Beetles are maintained as pets in areas as far away as Japan. In reality, there is a booming bug pet trade in several Asian nations.
Hercules beetles are usually raised in plastic pots filled with species-specific wood detritus. The larva grows into an adult over the course of a year or more. It will be an adult for another year or so, and the most of them are easy to handle.
Hercules Beetle Citations
- Parapatric genetic introgression and phenotypic assimilation: testing conditions for introgression between Hercules beetles (Dynastes, Dynastinae). Mol Ecol . 2016 Nov;25(21):5513-5526.
- Flight behavior of the rhinoceros beetle Trypoxylus dichotomus during electrical nerve stimulation. Bioinspir Biomim . 2012 Sep;7(3):036021.
- Interactions between phoretic mites and the Arabian rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes agamemnon arabicus. J Insect Sci . 2012;12:128.