Dynastes tityus Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
The spectacular Eastern Hercules Beetle is a member of the scarab beetle family, and the largest beetle in the United States. Relative to their body size, they are the world's strongest animal—some of these beetles can lift as much as 850 times their own weight, the equivalent of a human lifting a 65 ton object.
Adult males usually have two large horns, one on the head and one on the thorax. The horns are not just for display – males are quite aggressive towards one another, and use their horns to battle for the right to mate. Males are often scarred and sometimes punctured by their opponents horns during battles. Females have no horns.
The wing covers – known as elytra – of males and females differ in color. Males are green, gray, or tan with black spots and females are usually darker, with a brownish cast. Each beetle has a unique spot pattern, as individual and identifiable as a fingerprint.
Hercules beetles feed on decaying plant material. They are found in rotten logs, stumps and among dead leaves.
These beetles are highly sought after by collectors and insect hobbyists. Wild caught beetles are easily kept in a covered aquarium with a couple of inches of dirt and dry leaves on the bottom, and pieces of bark for cover. They thrive on a diet of ripe bananas, orange slices and rotten apples.
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