My brother, Charlie, and my sister-in-law, Linda, live in Southern Indiana. Linda often goes on a walk, and she carries a camera with her in case she comes across something interesting. On a recent walk, she photographed this wonderful specimen of an Eastern Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus), and she graciously allowed us to feature the photograph in this post.
Eastern Hercules Beetles are the largest beetles found in the U.S, and they can be up to two inches long. They are a type of rhinoceros beetle, classified in a subfamily of the scarab beetle family. The one pictured here is a male. The females are a more uniform green in color, and the spotted pattern on the wing covers is not so obvious. Females also lack the prominent horns that project from the front of the male. In this dorsal view the horns are the black pointed structures on the front of the animal. Males spar with these horns in competitions for females. The pattern of spots is unique for each individual.
After mating, the females gather bits of dead wood to make a clump, typically in a stump or hollow tree. Then she lays an egg in the mass of wood, and the larvae eat the dead wood when they hatch. When mature, the larvae construct a pupal case by glueing bits of dead wood together with saliva, and then they emerge as adults the next Spring or Summer.