The Hercules Beetle (Dynastes hercules)
The Hercules Beetle is a giant scarab beetle and is one of the largest flying insects in the world. Let's look into this massive bug and find out more about it for ourselves!
Physical Description and Behavior
This beetle is massive! While it is usually only an inch or two from side to side, it can be up to 7 inches long from tip of horn to butt. This makes it the largest beetle and one of the largest living insects alive today. That said, only the males of this species have horns. Females seem a little duller in color and have no horn at all.
One of the reasons for sexual dimorphism is due to males competing for females. This competition can become so fierce that the males can cause significant damage to each other, as well as to the female they are fighting over.
They also have a pretty long lifespan. After hatching from their eggs, they start out in a larval stage. This stage has three smaller stages in it, known as instars. After the third stage, it goes into a pupal stage, which lasts about 32 days. During this time, it turns into its well-known beetle form. The adult beetles live 3 to 6 months before dying.
The beetle larvae are saproxylophagous, meaning that they eat rotting wood. The adult beetles feed on both fresh and rotting fruit such as grapes, peaches, and berries. The adult beetles are nocturnal and also very strong. Studies suggest that it can lift over 850 times its body weight.
Habitat and Location
These beetles can be found from Mexico to Bolivia as well as the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. They live in rainforests and are vital to their environment due to the larvae decomposing rotted wood.
Watch this video below to see the larvae metamorphosized right in front of your eyes