Monday, August 02, 2010

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Pictures of a male Eastern Hercules beetle (Dynastes tityus) found in Larue County, Kentucky on July 31, 2010.  It was found dead on the black plastic of the garden in between two watermelon plants.  Possible it flipped over on its back at night and then died of exposure from the very hot days we have been having.  I am guessing the surface temperature of the black plastic gets to 120 degrees F during the day.

According to the University of Kentucky entomology web site, this is the largest beetle found in Kentucky.  It belongs to the scarab beetle family (Scarabaeidae).  It is also called Rhinoceros Beetle, Rhino Beetle, Unicorn Beetle, and Horned Beetle.  It is not a pest but eats decaying plants at night.  The protruding horns are only on the males and used to fight other males.  I wonder if the scratches on the front of this beetle are from some of those fights.

This beetle measures 50 mm (tip of horn to back of rear shell) and 23 mm at widest shell point.  I read the largest one reported found was 85 mm in length.

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