The Hercules beetle got its loud name thanks to the popular mythical hero Hercules. And such a comparison is very apt. The Hercules beetle is a giant beetle, one of the largest representatives of its species. Only the woodcutter-titan beetle surpasses it in strength and size. The latter was listed in the book of records.
Origin of the species and description
Hercules is a beetle. It belongs to a very large family of lamellar. Today it has more than thirty thousand species and is replenished annually. Representatives of this species are widely distributed throughout the globe. The rhinoceros beetle, as it is often called, belongs to the subfamily of hollows.
This subfamily has a striking distinctive feature – growths on the pronotum, head. For this reason, it is difficult to confuse such insects with anyone. Due to specific growths, Hercules can reach seventeen centimeters in length.
Video: Hercules Beetle
Among all insects, the Hercules beetle is famous for its incredible strength. It can carry, lift various objects, the weight of which is 850 times the weight of the insect itself. Hercules surprises with its size no less than with its strength. The male can reach seventeen centimeters, the female is smaller – about eighty millimeters.
During the flight, the wings of an insect open as much as twenty centimeters. Hercules can be called a champion in terms of weight. The weight of an adult can reach one hundred and eleven grams. This is a record figure among representatives of the lamellar species. Only the goliath beetle can come close to this indicator. It is very rare that a goliath weighs more than a hundred grams.
Appearance and features
In terms of external qualities, the Hercules beetle is considered quite awesome. It has an impressive weight, large dimensions, black horns. The upper horn is large, has notches, the lower one is smaller. The large horn is slightly rounded, directed forward.
The size of the rhinoceros beetle itself will depend on the size of the upper horn. The size of an adult is directly dependent on the quantity and quality of the nutrients consumed.
At the same time, nutrients that enter during the pupal and larval stages play a role. During development, one larva can reach a size of eleven centimeters. The power of the Hercules is highly regarded among lovers of animal fighting. People often arrange exhibition fights between scorpions, lobsters, rhinoceros beetles. The latter often come out victorious.
In addition to weight, dimensions, Hercules also has other external features:
- beetles are divided into males and females. Females are always much smaller than males;
- sex differences are easy to determine not only by the size of the insect. The colors also give them away. Males have a black head, horns, and a set of forewings that can be cast in brown, various shades of green. Females are always brownish-black;
- According to recent discoveries, the Hercules beetle can change its color depending on its habitat. The color of the shell can give an estimate of the level of humidity in the area.
Where does the Hercules beetle live?
The most favorite places for Hercules beetles are tropical, subtropical forests. Today, a large population of this insect can be found in South America, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Mexico. Also, many individuals live on the islands located in the Caribbean. In smaller numbers, beetles are found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru. Also, small settlements were seen in other countries with a pronounced tropical climate, a large number of forests with high humidity.
Despite the prevalence of the beetle in the tropics, individual individuals live in many countries of the world at home. Today, buying such a pet for yourself is not a problem. There are many specialized Internet sites and shops on the Internet where both larvae and adults of bugs are offered. However, it is rather difficult to create the necessary conditions for the Hercules to live.
It is important to choose a container that is suitable in size, to provide a high temperature and a suitable level of humidity in it. The optimum temperature is considered to be between 20 and 25 degrees. Humidity should be at least seventy percent. It is also important to take care of the timely receipt of food by the beetle, of providing enough space for climbing.
What does the Hercules beetle eat?
The diet of the rhinoceros beetle consists only of organic materials in the decay stage. Most often, the insect prefers to eat overripe fruits. One such fruit can last an adult for several days. The beetle will suck out nutrients to the last. Sometimes rhinoceros beetles feed on fallen leaves, soft tree bark.
The beetles find most of their food right on the ground. However, if necessary, they can climb trees, fly from one place to another. The wingspan can reach twenty centimeters, and the legs of the insect are quite long and have tenacious claws. All this makes the hercules an excellent earner.
Searching for food can be accompanied by combat skirmishes between adults. Violent clashes often end in death. Powerful horns easily push through the shells.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The way of life, the behavior of beetles has its own characteristics. Beetles are predominantly nocturnal. During the day, they often hide under fallen leaves. Most of the day these insects spend in search of food. They slowly move around the earth, choosing suitable fruits and berries for themselves. Sometimes the Hercules beetle climbs a tree in order to feast on tree sap. He extracts it from the cracks formed in the bark of soft tree species.
The character of the Hercules can be called warlike. Rhinoceros beetles often challenge each other to so-called duels. During the call, insects use the stridulatory apparatus. When duelists discover each other, they immediately rush into the fray.
In relation to a person, the Hercules beetle can be called peaceful. He will never attack, never harm. It is also harmless to gardens, fields with crops. Thanks to these qualities, the Hercules beetle is popular among exotic lovers. Many people have such beetles at home, without fear of picking them up.
The lifestyle, nutritional habits of the rhinoceros beetle are of great benefit to the planet. They are excellent organic processors. Insect larvae crush organic matter, pass it through their intestines.
Social structure and reproduction
In the social structure of beetles, the strongest always occupies the highest rung. Only strong males have the right to continue their kind. For this reason, during the mating period, the once peaceful insects turn into irreconcilable fighters. While courting females, they really fight each other, trying to push through the enemy's shell.
Damage to the opponent's cover is almost half the success in the fight for the female. The battle of competitors most often continues to the last. One of the bugs must retreat or die. Rhinoceros beetles rarely retreat, so most battles end in the death of one of the males. The mating season always falls during the rainy season in the tropics.
The male who wins the fight begins the process of mating with the female. Females usually lay their eggs in the slightly rotting bark of wood. During their short life, the females of this insect manage to lay no more than a hundred eggs. Each time, the female tries to postpone the maximum offspring, because the life expectancy of the strongest beetle is very small – no more than a year. The eggs turn into larvae in about two months. Then they develop in three stages.
Each of them has its own specific duration:
- the first takes about fifty days;
- the second is fifty-five days;
- the third is the longest and takes at least four hundred days.
Hercules beetle natural enemies
Like any other insect, the Hercules Beetle has enemies. The beetles can consider themselves the main enemy. A large number of adult males die during the mating season, fighting with each other. However, this allows you to clear a further genus, because only the strongest representatives of the species breed.
Many predatory animals prey on the Hercules beetle: mammals, rodents, reptiles, bats. They are not afraid of the large size of the insect. However, the rhinoceros beetle is never easy prey. He uses every opportunity to protect himself. The main weapon is a large, powerful horn, strength, tenacious paws, large wings.
Beetles are excellent fliers, which helps them to quickly hide from ground enemies. Various parasites, such as ticks, can also be called the enemies of Hercules. However, they do not eat insects. They hurt differently. Ticks can damage the body of the beetle, significantly undermine its health. This reduces the overall lifespan of the animal.
Adults are not as often endangered as defenseless larvae. It is at this stage of development that Hercules most often dies. The larvae become quick and easy prey for ants, large ground beetles, centipedes. Also, the larvae die from the scoliosis wasp. The wasp pierces the body of the larva with its stinger and lays its eggs in it.
Population and species status
Estimate the population with high accuracy this animal is almost impossible. However, we can definitely say about the status of the species – the species of Hercules beetles is significantly reduced. There is only one reason for this reduction – human intervention.
In particular, the following factors influence the population decline:
- Massive deforestation. This is the most acute problem of our time. By cutting down forests, a person deprives hercules of the main thing – home and food.
- Air and water pollution. This factor affects the decline in the number of all animals.
- Extermination of Hercules by people. For example, this amazing animal is often captured and sold for a lot of money to collectors. Also in some countries, this insect is used in the production of medicines.
Scientists, evaluating the population of rhinoceros beetles, began to determine the health of the forest. If there are a lot of insects, this is an excellent indicator of the good state of the ecological situation in the forest.
Protection of Hercules beetles
Beetle Hercules is a strong, beautiful, unusual insect. Thirty years ago, there was no threat of a decrease in its population. However, today the species of such beetles is gradually declining in numbers. There is a real threat of extinction of the species, so the Hercules beetle was listed in the Red Book.
In order to prevent the disappearance of the rhinoceros beetle, many countries are taking special measures to restore the normal number of these animals. In some European zoo insectariums, a deeper study of the species, their breeding is carried out.
The Hercules beetle is one of the strongest beetles on our planet, the population of which is on the verge of extinction due to the unreasonable attitude of man to nature. This insect maintains the health of forests, the ecosystem as a whole. It is not a pest, a carrier of dangerous diseases. The Hercules beetle is the most valuable representative of its family.