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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hercules Beetle: strongest of all

  • Hercules beetles, also called rhinoceros and unicorn beetles, are among the largest beetles in the world.
  • Pound for pound, Hercules beetles are the strongest animal in the world. Some can lift as much as 850 times their own weight.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scarabaeidae
Subfamily: Dynastinae
Genus: Dynastes
Species: D. hercules

The male, about five inches (13 cm) long, is one of the largest insects known. Females often have a greater body length but are not as long overall. Males have black heads and a set of forewings that can be shades of green, brown or black, while females are entirely brownish black. A large horn projecting from its upper thorax (chest) and a smaller one from its head resemble pincers. They are mainly found in tropical rainforests in Central and South America, but live as far north as Mexico as well as on some Caribbean islands.

Hercules beetles have a total life cycle of about a year and a half. They live underground as larvae for ten to 16 months, but only live for three to four months as adults.
Adult Hercules Beetles feed on sweet fruits, tree sap, and decaying plant matter. Larvae develop in or around rotten logs and eat decaying wood. Hercules beetles are vulnerable in the wild due to destruction of forests and collection for the pet trade. They are also vulnerable as their natural range is very limited.


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