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Hercules Beetles

Hercules Beetles

Hilights

  • Scientific Name: Dynastes hercules
  • Status in the Wild: Common
  • Habitat: Grasslands, Rainforests, Tropical Dry Forests
  • Diet: Herbivore

One notable species of Costa Rican beetle is the spectacular Hercules beetle, also known as the rhinoceros beetle. Known for the long upward curving “horns” of the male and its length of up to 6.75 inches (more than half of this may be its horns), it is native to Central and South America. Named for their amazing strength, the Hercules beetle can carry 850 times its own body weight.

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The larval stage of the Hercules beetle generally lasts up to two years, with the larva growing up to 4.5 inches in length. During much of this period, the insect tunnels through its primary food source of rotting wood.  After the larval period, the larva transforms into a pupa, molts and becomes an adult beetle. Adult beetles spend much of their lives roaming the forest floor in search of decaying fruit.

In spite of their fierce appearance, Hercules beetles are totally harmless to humans: they cannot bite, sting or hurt you with their horns.  The male beetles use their horns as levers, jousting with opponents to gain access to females or food.  They are generally slow moving, non-aggressive insects. 

It is very important to protect this insect's natural habitat from destruction, otherwise this amazing species, and many others, will have no place to live.  To survive, they require old growth rain forests containing large decaying logs.  They are important to the ecosystem because they help recycle plant material.