This week’s creature is one of the biggest, baddest and most famous of its species…it has a wrestling move that no opponent can survive so don't enter a ring against this creature! The Hercules beetle has been in many card games, TV shows, made into toys, and probably even been in some movies. Growing up in the last few decades you’ve probably seen something on TV or read in some book or seen some toy that references the Hercules beetle but just haven’t noticed it or known what it was. After reading this hopefully you will, and teach the kids of the next generation what that crazy villain or superhero or toy is copying in the real world!
The Hercules Beetle is the largest of the rhinoceros’ beetle and third largest of all the beetles (following the Long-horned Beetle and the Titan Beetle) but this is only because of the horns on the male's forehead, the horns can sometimes be longer than their own body. Without that horn it would drop significantly in rank of size. The male Hercules Beetle can be up to 170mm (6.75inchs) long including the horn, it is very rare for them to get this big but it can. They can weigh up to 85g (3oz) and can lift with their horns up to 850 times it own weight which would be approximately 72.25kg (159lb)…Now that is strong and where it gets it's name from. If the average male could lift 850 times his weight (which is 86.6kg or 190.9lb, according to Wikipedia) he would be able to lift 73.610t (tonnes). You would be able to pick up a dozen cars in each hand and still be able to lift more. That strength makes it the strongest (comparative to its size) creature in the world, now that is Epic strong if you ask me!
Hercules beetles are very sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females look very different. The females do not have two horns like the males do, but the actual body of the female is larger than the male. The males have two horns, the top longer one comes out of the thorax (its body) and the bottom comes out of the cephalon (the head). They are used to fight other male Hercules beetles for defense and for mating rights; what the beetle will do is pick up the enemy in its horns, fly up and slam it down into the ground causing the enemy to break its neck. Not only is it strong but it can give you one heck of a body slam! They can be various sizes and various colours but the distinctive features of them are the numerous small black spots on it hard shell that covers it wings and the small hairs on the bottom of the thorax horn.
The lifecycle of the Hercules beetle is not unusual for an insect but is longer than most. Once hatched from its egg, the larva spends up to two years tunneling/eating rotting wood; the larva looks like a large white caterpillar. Once they have stored enough energy they will turn into a hard shell and morph into the beetle, when the beetle is ready to come out they will moult (shed) their shell and emerge an adult. As adults they will roam the forest floor for decaying fruit, mate and fight; that's not a bad life if you ask me.
With its size, horns, strength, special body slam and longevity no wonder it is so famous. These same reasons are why I am deeming this creature Epic!
PS - I was originally going to write about the Titan beetle because of its size and the fact that the adult male does not eat for the adult part of its life but I could just not find enough information to make a decent size post. Instead I opted for a favorite creature of mine, the Hercules beetle.