Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dynastes tityus

Drees, Texas A&M University Department of Entomology

The Eastern Hercules Beetle is the largest beetle in the United States. They grow over two inches long.

Males, slightly larger than females, are olive green in color with patterns of brown spots. Males also have a pair of "horns" extending from the front of their heads. Females are greenish brown and have no horns.

Hercules beetles live in shady areas with lots of plants.

Copyright, Tom Shohara

Copyright, Henry H. and Catherine C. Hartley

Copyright, Henry H. and Catherine C. Hartley

After mating, the female beetles pack bits of decaying wood into a pile. She then sticks her ovipositor into the pile and lays an egg. Usually this is in a stump, log, or dead tree.

The egg hatches in three to four months, and a larva immediately starts to feed on the dead wood where it is born. It eats and grows for about eight months.

Copyright, Oldrich Jahn

When it is ready, the larva changes into the pupa stage by making a hollow shell out of bits of wood and debris, sticking them together with saliva. It rests in this stage until it is ready to emerge as an adult beetle in the Spring.

Adult beetles leave their wooden coccoons and fly off in search of food and a mate. Beetles eat sap from young tree saplings that comes out when they rub against the bark.

Eastern Hercules Beetles release a foul-smelling odor to try to discourage predators. They can be eaten by large animals that prey on insects, especially large birds, such as owls and crows. Larvae can be dug out of their wooden shelter by woodpeckers and other animals.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Hercules Beetle's Head Under a Microscope #1
Link to Image
Uglybug.org
Hercules Beetle's Head Under a Microscope #2
Link to Image
Uglybug.org
Hercules Beetle's Head Under a Microscope #3
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Red Maple

Barred Owl

Eastern White Pine

Silver Maple

Common Crow

Red Maple

Sweetgum

Blue Jay

Silver Maple

Virginia Pine

Pileated Woodpecker

Sweetgum

White Oak

Red Fox

Yellow Poplar

Willow Oak

Raccoon

Willow Oak

Eastern White Pine

Virginia Opossum

White Oak

Yellow Poplar

Eastern Worm Snake

Mockernut Hickory

Black Oak

Black Willow

Bracken Fern

Common Dandelion

Evergreen Blackberry

Japanese Honeysuckle

Poison Ivy

Red Clover

Skunk Cabbage

Spicebush

Virginia Creeper

Relationship to Humans:

Eastern Hercules Beetles are harmless to humans. The males' horns do not pinch. Beetle larvae help by breaking down dead wood so nutrients can go back into the soil. Beetles are often attracted to lights at night.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Coleoptera
FAMILY
Scarabaeidae
GENUS
Dynastes
SPECIES
Dynastes tityus

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