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Life Cycle of a Hercules Beetle

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The male Hercules beetle is instantly recognizable by its long black horn, but its life cycle is mostly hidden in nature. These large rain forest creatures experience metamorphosis from eggs to larvae, to pupae, to adult beetles during a 19 to 21-month process.

See a series of moments from a Hercules Beetle’s long life cycle in this 2.5-minute video from professional insect breeder Adrian Kozakiewicz of InsecthausTV.

According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences team, the larval stage alone takes around 550 days or a year and a half: “50 days (first instar), 56 days (second instar), and 450 days (third instar).” Via Wikipedia:

“The Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules) is a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the rainforests of Central America, South America, and the Lesser Antilles. It is the longest extant species of beetle in the world, and is also one of the largest flying insects in the world…”


Dynastes hercules is a beneficial contributor to the rain forest ecosystem, primarily during their larval stage where they are saproxylophagous. Feeding on rotting wood assists with biodegradation and cycling nutrients in the environment.”

adult male beetles
The silent 2017 video below, filmed by Hercules beetle enthusiast HirokA1007, also documents the beetle’s growth. The footage was shared in videos for National Geographic and The Dodo that went viral for this pupal stage shot:

Wiggling Hercules Beetle pupa filmed by HirokA1007

Previously: The large and surprising creatures of InsecthausTV.

Watch these hand-picked beetle videos next:
• Evolution, a vibrant mantis-filled music video
Dung Beetle Battle
• A stag beetle, a long-horned beetle, & a tube web spider
• Can Namib Desert beetles help us solve our drought problems?
• Life in the soil revealed in claymation shorts by Maxwell Helmberger

Bonus: Metamorphosis videos.

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