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The Hercules
Hercules
beetle ( Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules, Dynastinae) is a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the rainforests of Central America, South America, and the Lesser Antilles,[1] and is the longest extant species of beetle in the world,[2] and is also one of the largest flying insects in the world.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Taxonomy

2.1 Subspecies

3 Description 4 Distribution and habitat 5 Life cycle 6 Diet and behaviour

6.1 Diet 6.2 Behaviour 6.3 Physical strength

7 Relationship to humans 8 References 9 External links

Etymology[edit] The beetle is named after Hercules, a hero of classical mythology famed for his great strength. Taxonomy[edit] D. hercules has a complex taxonomic history and has been known by several synonyms. It is in the subfamily Dynastinae
Dynastinae
(rhinoceros beetles) in the larger family Scarabaeidae
Scarabaeidae
(commonly known as scarab beetles). Not counting subspecies of D. hercules, seven other species are recognised in the genus Dynastes. Subspecies[edit] Several subspecies of D. hercules have been named,[3] though still some uncertainty exists as to the validity of the named taxa.[4][5]

Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules ecuatorianus Ohaus, 1913 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules hercules (Linnaeus, 1758) Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules lichyi Lachaume, 1985 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules morishimai Nagai, 2002 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules occidentalis Lachaume, 1985 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules paschoali Grossi & Arnaud, 1993 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules reidi Chalumeau, 1977 (= baudrii Pinchon, 1976) Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules septentrionalis Lachaume, 1985 (= tuxtlaensis Moron, 1993) Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules takakuwai Nagai, 2002 Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules trinidadensis Chalumeau & Reid, 1995 (= bleuzeni Silvestre and Dechambre, 1995)

Description[edit] Adult body sizes vary between 50 and 85 mm in length and 29 and 42 mm in width,[6] though male Hercules
Hercules
beetles may reach up to 17.5 cm in length (including the horn),[4] making them the longest species of beetle in the world.[2] The size of this horn is naturally very variable; more so than any variation of the size of legs, wings, or overall body size in the species. This variability results from developmental mechanisms that couple genetic predisposition with nutrition, stress, exposure to parasites, and/or physiological conditions.[7] The body of males is black with the exception of the elytra, which can have shades of olive-green. They have a black suture with sparsely distributed black spots elsewhere on the elytra.[6] D. hercules is highly sexually dimorphic, with only males exhibiting the characteristic horn.[1] They have a slightly iridescent colouration to their elytra, which varies in colour between specimens and may be affected by the humidity of the local environment in which they develop.[8][9] At low humidity the elytra are olive-green or yellow in colour, but darken to black at higher humidity due to changes in light refraction.[10] Females of D. hercules have punctured elytra which are usually entirely black, but sometimes have the last quarter coloured in the same way as the males.[6]

Female

Male

Distribution and habitat[edit] Populations of D. hercules may be found from southern Mexico south to Bolivia in mountainous and lowland rainforests. Known populations include the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.[6] Chromosomal analysis has shown that the genus Dynastes
Dynastes
in fact originated from South America.[11] Life cycle[edit]

Larva
Larva
of D. hercules

Not much is known about the life cycle in the wild, but much evidence has been gained through observations of captive-bred populations.[6] Females of D. hercules may lay up to 100 eggs on the ground or on dead wood.[10] Once hatched, the larval stage of the Hercules
Hercules
beetle may last up to two years in duration, with the larva growing up to 4.5 in (11 cm) in length and weighing more than 100 g. The larvae, which are coloured yellow with a black head,[10] undergo three instars. In laboratory conditions at 25 ± 1°C, the first stage lasts an average of 50 days, the second stage an average of 56 days, and the third an average of 450 days.[12] The pupal stage lasts about 32 days, while adults can live for three to six months in captivity.[6] The mating season for adults typically occurs during the rainy season (July to December). Females have an average gestation period of 30 days from copulation to egg-laying.[10] Male Hercules
Hercules
beetles typically use their large horns to settle mating disputes; these fights can cause significant physical damage to the combatants.[13] During fights, the males attempt to grab and pin their rival between the cephalic and thoracic horns to lift and throw them. The successful male wins mating rights with the female, though the beetles remain polygynandrous.[10] Diet and behaviour[edit] Diet[edit] The larva of the Hercules
Hercules
beetle feeds on rotting wood during its two-year larval stage.[8] The adult Hercules
Hercules
beetle feeds on fresh and rotting fruit.[8][9] They have been observed feeding on peach, pear, apple, and grape in captivity.[9][14] Behaviour[edit] Within their native rainforest habitats, larvae reside in decaying wood, and the adult beetles, which are nocturnal, forage for fruit at night and hide or burrow within the leaf litter during the day.[10] The adult D. hercules beetles are capable of creating a 'huffing' sound, generated by stridulating their abdomen against their elytra to serve as a warning to predators.[10][15] Like most insects, communication within the species is a mix of chemoreception, sight, and mechanical perception. Experiments on D. hercules have shown that a male placed in the vicinity of a female will immediately orient towards her and seek her out, suggesting chemical communication through strong sexual pheromones.[15] Physical strength[edit] Reports suggest the Hercules
Hercules
beetle is able to carry up to 850 times its body mass, but actual measurements on a much smaller (and relatively stronger: see square-cube law) species of rhinoceros beetle shows a carrying capacity only up to 100 times their body mass, at which point they can barely move.[16] Relationship to humans[edit] D. hercules does not negatively affect human activities, either as an agricultural pest or disease vector. The beetles may be kept as pets.[10] References[edit]

^ a b Huang, J. (2016). "Parapatric genetic introgression and phenotypic assimilation: testing conditions for introgression between Hercules
Hercules
beetles (Dynastes, Dynastinae)". Molecular Ecology. 25 (21): 5513–5526. doi:10.1111/mec.13849. PMID 27661063.  ^ a b "Largest species of beetle". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2017-05-20.  ^ " Hercules
Hercules
Beetle, Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules". BioLib.cz. 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-09.  ^ a b Ratcliffe, B.C.; Cave, R.D. (2015). "The dynastine scarab beetles of the West Indies (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae)". Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum. 28: l–346.  ^ Huang, J., Knowles, L. The species versus subspecies conundrum: quantitative delimitation from integrating multiple data types within a single bayesian approach in Hercules
Hercules
beetles. Systematic Biology, vol. 65, 2015, 15p. ^ a b c d e f Keller, O.; Cave, R. D. Cave (2016). " Hercules
Hercules
Beetle Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules (Linnaeus, 1758) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)" (PDF). University of Florida, IFAS Extension. Retrieved 2017-05-20.  ^ Lavine, L.; Gotoh, H.; Brent, C. S.; Dworkin, I.; Emlen, D. J. (2015). "Exaggerated Trait Growth in Insects". Annual Review of Entomology. 60: 453–472. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-010814-021045.  ^ a b c Rassart, M.; Colomer, J. F.; Tabarrant, T.; Vigneron, J. P. (2008). "Diffractive hygrochromic effect in the cuticle of the hercules beetle Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules". New Journal of Physics. 10 (3): 033014. Bibcode:2008NJPh...10c3014R. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/10/3/033014.  ^ a b c Hinton, H. E.; Jarman, G. M. (1973). "Physiological colour change in the elytra of the Hercules
Hercules
beetle, Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules". Journal of Insect
Insect
Physiology. 19: 533–539. doi:10.1016/0022-1910(73)90064-4. . ^ a b c d e f g h Toussaint, A. (2015). " Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules (Hercules Beetle)" (PDF). The Online Guide to the Animals of Trinidad and Tobago (University of West Indies). Retrieved 17 February 2018.  ^ Dutrillaux B.; Dutrillaux A.-M. (2013). "A South American Origin of the Genus
Genus
Dynastes
Dynastes
(Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) Demonstrated by Chromosomal Analyses". Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 147: 37–42. doi:10.1159/000351210.  ^ Gruner L; Chalumeau F. (1977). "Biologie et élevage de Dynastes
Dynastes
h. hercules en Guadeloupe (Coleoptera: Dynastidae)". Annals Societé Entomologique (in French). 13: 613–624.  ^ " Hercules
Hercules
Beetles". University of Kentucky Entomology. 2008. Retrieved 2017-05-19.  ^ Krell, F., Krell, V. Longevity of the Western Hercules
Hercules
beetle, D. grantii Horn (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). The Coleopterists Bulletin, vol. 69, 2015, 1p. ^ a b Kulikowski, A. " Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules". Animal
Animal
Diversity Web. Retrieved 2017-05-20.  ^ Kram, R. (1996). "The Journal of Experimental Biology" (PDF). 199: 609–612. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules.

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules

Family Scarabaeidae
Scarabaeidae
- Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules The Breeding/Rearing of Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules hercules Photos of Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules ecuatorianus Photos of Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules hercules Photos of Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules lichyi Photos of Dynastes
Dynastes
hercules occidentalis

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q503799 ADW: Dynastes_hercules EoL: 1026724 GBIF: 1074504 iNaturalist: 26

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