Beetle Hercules

Beetle Hercules. Hercules beetle lifestyle and habitat

Hercules Beetle got his nickname thanks to the hero of ancient Greek myths Hercules, and not in vain. It not only belongs to the category of giant beetles, being one of the largest representatives (it ranks second after the titanium lumberjack beetle listed in the Guinness Book of Records), but it is also able to move objects several hundred times its own weight. Many scientists consider this insect the most powerful on Earth.

Features and habitat

What size beetle hercules, since he has such power and can lift objects weighing more than eight kilograms? The size of the female common beetle is not more than 8 cm, the body length of the males can be twice the size of the female and reaches 18 cm.

The male wingspan is twenty centimeters. Hercules Beetle Weight can reach 111 grams, which is a record among all the others (only the goliath beetle can compete with it, whose weight rarely exceeds 100 grams).

The appearance of the Hercules beetle is very frightening, since having an impressive weight and dimensions, the males have a large black horn with notches and a smaller lower size. The upper horn is directed forward and slightly bends downward.

The base of the horn and the lower part, like the whole body, are covered with rare red hairs. The female has no horns. It has tuberous elytra with a black matte finish, the body is also covered with brown hairs. These beetles belong to the family of lamellae, so their elytra are hard.

Their color depends on what humidity the environment has. Usually it is light or dark olive, yellow or even black. Often the color of the elytra of the males contains round spots, the location of which varies depending on the habitat of the beetles.

About the Hercules Beetle it can be said unequivocally that by the features of his coloring he rendered invaluable assistance to science. The thing is that as a result of the recent discovery of scientists who have been observing representatives of these lamellae for a long time, special substances have been isolated that change the color of the shell simultaneously with the change of habitat, instantly adapting to environmental conditions.

Scientists believe that this discovery will form the basis of the invention of new varieties of so-called intellectual materials, since such a feature of the color of beetles can be successfully used as an indicator of the level of humidity.

Hercules beetle prefers to settle in the tropical and subtropical forests of South America, today they are found in large numbers in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Bolivia, on islands in the Caribbean and in Panama.

They can also be found in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and other countries with a tropical climate and an abundance of rainforests. Despite the fact that you can only find this insect in the tropics, many people find a way to buy live Hercules beetle through specialized pet stores and online sites.

A pair of adult individuals (male and female) of medium standard sizes will cost about three hundred US dollars. For those who consider such a price unreasonably high, there is a way to purchase Hercules Beetle Larva, the cost of which depends on the stage and varies from thirty to one hundred dollars.

The life cycle of the second stage larva is approximately 55 days, and for its cultivation a terrarium is needed, filled with a special substrate for beetles and covered with snags, fragments of bark and branches and necessarily dried oak leaves.

After almost two months of keeping in a terrarium with a constantly maintained temperature of 22-25 degrees, the larvae reach solid dimensions and gain weight up to 130 grams. Immediately after the release of adult beetles from the cocoon, they should not be touched for the first 35-40 days, feeding them with ripened fruits, bananas and special protein jelly for beetles.

It is worth knowing that for breeding and keeping bugs it is necessary to have certain knowledge, therefore, those who do not want to delve into the details of this difficult process, it is best to admire the colorful Hercules Beetle Photo, which can be found without much difficulty on the Internet.

Character and lifestyle

Most of the day, males and females of beetles spend in search of food, moving mainly on the surface of the earth. The main objects of the search are their favorite goodies, namely rotten fruits and rotten wood.

The development of beetles occurs in three stages: a larva emerges from an egg, from which a pupa then emerges. Adult individuals, possessing tremendous strength and a frightening appearance, pose absolutely no danger to humans, and when they meet with them, they show calm behavior.

Hercules beetle eats mostly overripe fruits, mostly rotten. Having discovered one fruit, the beetle can eat exclusively for several days, sucking out everything that is possible from it.

Usually these lamellae move on the ground, however, thanks to their powerful tenacious paws, they can easily climb a tree trunk in order to enjoy their favorite fruit.

A fierce collision may occur between several bugs when searching for food, and then they use both their powerful horns. Working as claws, males can push through the shells of rivals, so such fights often end for one of the opponents with a fatal outcome. Larvae feed on decaying bark and leaves.

Reproduction and longevity

During the mating season, clashes between males often take place for the right to own a particular female, which, as a rule, ends fatally for one of the participants.

The male winner is mated by a female who lays eggs among the ideal substrate — rotting wood bark. Throughout her life, a female usually lays no more than a hundred eggs. Larvae eat solid rotten wood and are able to digest cellulose due to the presence of intestinal microorganisms.

After two months of development, the larva reaches an impressive size of up to 19 cm and weigh up to 100 grams. Due to its size, the larvae of the Hercules beetle are a delicacy among the natives of tropical countries.

Despite the fact that the beetle is considered the largest and strongest, its life expectancy is only six months. That is why the female tries to lay as many eggs as possible during this period, providing them with the most comfortable conditions.

Habits and Traits of Darkling Beetles

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

The family Tenebrionidae, the darkling beetles, is one of the largest beetle families. The family name comes from the Latin tenebrio, meaning one who loves darkness. People raise darkling beetle larvae, known as mealworms, as food for birds, reptiles, and other animals.


Most darkling beetles look similar to ground beetles, black or brown and smooth. They’re often found hiding under rocks or leaf litter and will come to light traps. Darkling beetles are primarily scavengers. The larvae are sometimes called false wireworms because they look like click beetle larvae (which are known as wireworms).

Though the Tenebrionidae family is quite large, numbering close to 15,000 species, all darkling beetles share certain characteristics. They have 5 visible abdominal sternites, the first of which is not divided by coxae (as in the ground beetles). The antennae usually have 11 segments and may be filiform or moniliform. Their eyes are notched. The tarsal formula is 5-5-4.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Tenebrionidae

Most darkling beetles (adults and larvae) scavenge on plant matter of some kind, including stored grains and flour. Some species feed on fungi, dead insects, or even dung.

Life Cycle

Like all beetles, darkling beetles undergo complete metamorphosis with four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Female darkling beetles deposit their eggs in the soil. Larvae are worm-like, with slender, elongated bodies. Pupation usually occurs in the soil.

Special Adaptations and Defenses

When disturbed, many darkling beetles will emit a foul-smelling liquid to dissuade predators from dining on them. Members of the genus Eleodes engage in a somewhat bizarre defensive behavior when threatened. Eleodes beetles raise their abdomens high in the air, so they almost appear to be standing on their heads, while fleeing the suspected danger.

Range and Distribution

Darkling beetles live worldwide, in both temperate and tropical habitats. The family Tenebrionidae is one of the largest in the beetle order, with well over 15,000 species known. In North America, darkling beetles are most diverse and abundant in the west. Scientists have described 1,300 western species, but only around 225 eastern Tenebrionids.

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  • Species Information

    Photo Credit: Jon Katz / USFWS

    Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

    Desmocerus californicus dimorphus

    Basic Species Information


    Threatened. The species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range, but they are not in danger of extinction right now.


    People often call this species «VELB» to avoid saying the whole name. Longhorn beetles (family Cerambidae) are characterized by long tube-like bodies with long antennae, often more than в…” of the body length. VELB are stout-bodied.

    Males range in length from about 2 cm (about ВЅ to nearly 1 inch), measured from the front of the head to the end of the abdomen, with antennae about as long as their bodies. Females are slightly broader than males and have shorter antennae. Adult males have red-orange elytra (wing covers) with four elongate spots. The red-orange fades to yellow on some museum specimens. Adult females have dark colored elytra.


    Adults eat elderberry leaves and flowers. Larvae eat the inside of elderberry stems.


    The species is nearly always found on or close to its host plant, red or blue elderberry (Sambucus species), along rivers and streams.

    Females lay their eggs on the bark. Larvae hatch and burrow into the stems.

    Stems need to be at least about one inch in diameter. Learn more from Theresa Sinicrope Talley’s VELB information pages.


    There are four stages in the animal’s life: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Females lay their eggs on the bark. Larvae hatch and burrow into the stems. The larval stage may last 2 years, after which the larvae enter the pupae stage and transform into adults. Adults are active from March to June, feeding and mating.


    At the time of listing in 1980, the beetle was known from less than 10 locations on the American River, Putah Creek and Merced River. Now it is known to occur from southern Shasta County to Fresno County. There are about 190 records, mostly based on exit holes.


    Birds, lizards, European earwigs and nonnative animals such as the Argentine ant, may eat the early phases of the beetle.


    Extensive destruction of California’s Central Valley riparian forests has occurred during the last 150 years due to agricultural and urban development. According to some estimates, riparian forest in the Central Valley have declined by as much as 89 percent during that time period. The valley elderberry longhorn beetle, though wide-ranging, is in long-term decline due to human activities that have resulted in widespread alteration and fragmentation of riparian habitats, and to a lesser extent, upland habitats, which support the beetle.

    The primary threats to survival of the beetle include:

    • Loss and alteration of habitat by agricultural conversion
    • Inappropriate grazing
    • Levee construction, stream and river channelization, removal of riparian vegetation and rip-rapping of shoreline
    • Nonnative animals such as the Argentine ant, which may eat the early phases of the beetle
    • Recreational, industrial and urban development

    Insecticide and herbicide use in agricultural areas and along road right-of-ways may be factors limiting the beetle’s distribution. The age and quality of individual elderberry shrubs/trees and stands as a food plant for beetle may also be a factor in its limited distribution.


    Remember that many insects are beneficial. These include honey bees, pollinators, lady bugs, silk worms and many more. Don’t automatically kill insects.

    Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

    • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

    A recent immigrant to the United States, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) made its presence known quickly. Accidental introductions, probably in wooden packing crates from China, led to infestations in New York and Chicago in the 1990’s. Thousands of trees were chipped and burned to prevent its spread. More recently, Anoplophora glabripennis appeared in New Jersey and Toronto, Canada. What makes this beetle so dangerous to our trees? All four stages of the life cycle damage the host trees.


    The Asian Longhorned Beetle belongs to the family of wood boring beetles, Cerambycidae. Adult beetles measure 1-1½ inches in length. Their shiny black bodies have white spots or markings, and the long antennae have alternating black and white stripes. The Asian longhorned beetle may be mistaken for two species native to the U.S., the cottonwood borer and the whitespotted sawyer.

    All other stages of the life cycle occur within the host tree, so it’s not likely you will see them. The female chews away a small amount of bark and lays white, oval eggs singly within the tree. Larvae, which are also white and resemble small grubs, chew their way through the vascular tissue of the tree and move into the wood. Pupation happens within the tunnels the larvae create in the wood. The newly emerged adult chews its way out of the tree.

    Usually, identification of this pest is made by observing damage to the host trees, and then finding an adult beetle to confirm the suspected infestation. When the female oviposits, it causes the sap to weep. When a tree has multiple wounds with dripping sap, wood borers may be suspected. As the adults chew their way out of the tree, they push large amounts of sawdust from their exit holes. This accumulated sawdust, usually around the base of the tree or piled in the crotch of branches, is another sign of the Asian longhorned beetle. The adult beetle emerges from an oval exit hole about the size of a pencil eraser.


    Kingdom — Animalia
    Phylum — Arthropoda
    Class — Insecta
    Order — Coleoptera
    Family — Cerambycidae
    Genus — Anoplophora
    Species — A. glabripennis

    Asian longhorned beetles feed on wood of many common hardwood species: birches, common horsechestnuts, elms, hackberries, London planes, maples, mountain ashes, poplars, aspens, and willows. They show a particular preference for maples. Larvae feed on the phloem tissue and wood; adults feed on bark during their mating and egg-laying period.

    Life Cycle:

    Asian longhorned beetles undergo complete metamorphosis with four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

    Egg — Eggs are laid singly within the host tree’s bark, and hatch in 1-2 weeks.
    Larva — Newly hatched larvae tunnel into the vascular tissue of the tree. As they mature, larvae migrate into the wood, causing extensive damage. Larvae may reach 5 cm in length when fully grown, feeding for at least 3 months.
    Pupa — At maturity, the larvae move near the surface of the tree (under the bark) to pupate. Adults emerge in about 18 days.
    Adult — The adult beetles actively mate and lay eggs throughout the summer and fall.

    Special Adaptations and Defenses:

    Asian longhorned beetle larvae and adults chew wood with large mandibles. Adults, especially males, display long antennae used to sense the sex pheromones of potential mates.


    Areas where host trees are available, particularly where maples, elms, and ash are in abundance. In the U.S. and Canada, known Asian longhorned beetle infestations have occurred in urban areas.

    The Asian longhorned beetle’s native range includes China and Korea. Accidental introductions expanded the range to include the United States, Canada, and Austria, hopefully temporarily. The introduced populations are believed to be under control.

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    What do they look like?

    Beetles are like all insects, they have a head, thorax, and abdomen, and six legs. Their bodies tend to be very solid and tough. They have chewing mouthparts and often have powerful jaws. Adult beetles have modified wings: the first pair of wings is small and very hard, and acts as a protective covering for the second pair of wings. Many beetles can fly with their second pair of wings. Most adult beetles are brown or black, but some are very brightly colored. Beetle larvae look sort of like worms, but they have six legs and a hard head. Beetle pupa can’t move and are covered with a leathery skin.

    Where do they live?

    Beetles are the most diverse group of insects. There are over 300,000 species known to science, and probably many tens of thousands more still unknown. Beetles are found on land and in fresh water all over the world.

    What kind of habitat do they need?

    Beetles are found in just about every habitat. Most species live on plants, others tunnel or burrow, some swim.

    How do they grow?

    Beetles have four different stages in their life cycle. Adult female beetles mate and lay eggs. The eggs hatch into a larval stage that is wingless. The larva feed and grow, and eventually change into a pupal stage. The pupa does not move or feed. Eventually the pupa transforms into an adult beetle.

    How do they reproduce?

    Female beetles usually lay dozens or hundreds of eggs. Reproduction is often timed to match the time of most available food.

    Adult beetles mate, and the female lays eggs on or very near a food source for her larvae. Some beetles collect a supply of food for their larvae, and lay the egg in the ball of food. Some scavenger beetles even feed their babies.

    How long do they live?

    Most beetle species complete their lives in a single year. Some, especially larger ones, live for more than a year, hatching in summer, a few months to a year or more as a larva and pupa, and then emerging to reproduce as an adult.

    How do they behave?

    Most beetles are active at night, but some are active in daylight (especially if they have chemical defense). Often they time their growth and reproduction so all the adults emerge at once, and for a short time you can find lots of a particular species.

    How do they communicate with each other?

    Most beetles communicate with other beetles with chemicals. Males often locate females by their scent. Beetles usually can’t see very well. Some beetle make sounds, usually scraping their mouthparts together or rubbing their legs on their bodies. Some beetles that live in dead wood drum and make vibrations. «Fireflies’ and «lightning bugs’ are actually beetles. They glow in the dark to communicate.

    What do they eat?

    Beetles eat all kinds of food. Most are specialists in few kinds, but some, like ground beetles, eat lots of things. Most beetles eat plant parts, either leaves or seeds or fruit or wood. Many are predators on other small animals. Some eat fungus, and there are a bunch of species that eat dung. Sometimes the larvae eat different foods than the adults do.

    What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

    Most beetles hide, and many beetle larvae dig tunnels to hide in. Some rely on their hard shell. Some, like lady beetles, have toxic chemicals to repel predators. Some can bite. Some, like ground beetles, run fast.

    What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

    Beetles have lots of roles. Dung beetles help get rid of waste, beetles that eat wood help break down dead trees, some beetles feed on pollen and help pollinate flowers.

    Do they cause problems?

    Beetle species are important pests because some of them eat our food. Some eat fruits or vegetable or other crops in the field, and others eat them in storage. Farmers have to spend lots of money and energy protecting their crops from beetles. Some beetles tunnel in wood, and these can kill or damage trees, or damage things we make from wood, like furniture, or even houses!

    • Ways that these animals might be a problem for humans
    • injures humans
      • bites or stings
    • crop pest
    • household pest

    How do they interact with us?

    Some beetle species are important predators of pests, and others do valuable clean-up jobs, getting rid of dung and breaking down dead plants. A few species are now being used to eat problem weed plants as well.

    • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
    • controls pest population

    Are they endangered?

    Most beetle species are abundant, and don’t need to be especially conserved. Beetles that live in habitats that are getting changed or wiped out could be in trouble, and some beetles depend on certain plant species. If the plant goes, they go. There is a species of aquatic beetle that only lives in a few rivers in northern Michigan. It is considered endangered.

    • IUCN Red List [Link] Not Evaluated

    Some more information.

    The heaviest insects in the world are beetles. There are some African and South American beetles that are as big as your fist!

    . «Coleoptera» (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 25, 2020 at

    BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
    Copyright © 2002-2020, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

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