The HERCULES BEETLE (
* 1 Taxonomy
* 1.1 Subspecies
* 2 Description * 3 Distribution and habitat * 4 Life cycle
* 5 Diet and behaviour
* 5.1 Diet * 5.2 Behaviour * 5.3 Physical strength
* 6 Relationship to humans * 7 References * 8 External links
D. hercules has a complex taxonomic history and has been known by
several synonyms. It is in the subfamily
Several subspecies of D. hercules have been named, though still some uncertainty exists as to the validity of the named taxa.
* Dynastes hercules ecuatorianus Ohaus, 1913 * Dynastes hercules hercules (Linnaeus, 1758) * Dynastes hercules lichyi Lachaume, 1985 * Dynastes hercules morishimai Nagai, 2002 * Dynastes hercules occidentalis Lachaume, 1985 * Dynastes hercules paschoali Grossi & Arnaud, 1993 * Dynastes hercules reidi Chalumeau, 1977 (= baudrii Pinchon, 1976) * Dynastes hercules septentrionalis Lachaume, 1985 (= tuxtlaensis Moron, 1993) * Dynastes hercules takakuwai Nagai, 2002 * Dynastes hercules trinidadensis Chalumeau 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.
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. D. hercules is highly sexually dimorphic , with only males exhibiting the characteristic horn. 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. 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.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
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. Chromosomal analysis has shown that the genus Dynastes in fact originated from South America.
Not much is known about the life cycle in the wild, but much evidence
has been gained through observations of captive-bred populations.
Females of D. hercules may lay up to 100 eggs on the ground or on dead
wood. Once hatched, the larval stage of the
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. Male
DIET AND BEHAVIOUR
The larva of the
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.
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.
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.
Reports suggest the
RELATIONSHIP TO HUMANS
D. hercules does not negatively affect human activities, either as an agricultural pest or disease vector. The beetles may be kept as pets.
* ^ A B Huang, J. (2016). "Parapatric genetic introgression and
phenotypic assimilation: testing conditions for introgression between
Hercules beetles (Dynastes, Dynastinae)". Molecular Ecology. 25:
5513–5526. doi :10.1111/mec.13849 .
* ^ A B "Largest species of beetle".
Guinness World Records