Eastern Hercules Beetle Facts

Eastern Hercules beetle facts are quite interesting.

The eastern Hercules beetle (Dynastes tityus), one of the biggest insects in America, belonging to the Scarabaeidae family. The Hercules beetle is a type of Rhinoceros beetle, and as the name suggests they possess Herculean strength. The eastern Hercules beetle predominately lives in the Eastern part of the United States like Kentucky while the Western Hercules beetles mostly live in the western part of America like Arizona, and New Mexico.

The Eastern Hercules usually has a dull shade of yellow or green with black spots covering the shell of the body. The adult males look different from the females because they have two large pincers or horns on their head, which the females do not have. Their average size is 1.6-2.4 in (4-6 cm) but a few males can be 7 in long with the horns. The adult Hercules beetles diet includes fresh as well as decaying fruit and the larvae only enjoy decaying wood.

These insects undergo the phenomenon of metamorphosis under the ground which takes 6-12 months. They become adults and live above the ground for 3-6 months, thereby completing the whole life cycle.

Read on for more fun facts about the eastern Hercules beetle. If you like reading about this spectacular species, you may also like longhorn beetle and dung beetle.

Eastern Hercules Beetle

Fact File

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Up to 100 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.3 lb (140 g)

How long are they?

1.6-2.4 in (4-6 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Greenish or yellowish-grey, tan

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Climate change, habitat loss, predators

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them

Deciduous forests, rotting wood


Kentucky, Illinois, New York, Texas





Scientific Name

Dynastes tityus





Eastern Hercules Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an eastern Hercules beetle?

The eastern Hercules beetle is a type of insect, belonging to the Scarabaeidae or Scarab beetles family of order Coleoptera.

What class of animal does an eastern Hercules beetle belong to?

Eastern Hercules beetles are a type of Rhinoceros beetle that belong to the class of Insecta and phylum Arthropoda.

How many eastern Hercules beetles are there in the world?

Coleoptera is known to be the largest order of insects with 300,000 to 400,000 species of existing beetles out of which 13 species belong to the category of Hercules beetles that live in the United States. However, the exact number of this species living in this world is unknown.

Where does an eastern Hercules beetle live?

The eastern Hercules beetle mainly lives in the decaying ash trees throughout the eastern part of America like Kentucky. Sometimes they are also found in the northern part and southern part like Illinois, New York as well as Texas. The Western Hercules beetle lives in the western part of America like New Mexico.

What is an eastern Hercules beetle's habitat?

The main habitat of this type of Rhinoceros beetle is the deciduous forests, particularly the decaying wood of ash trees. They are attracted to light at night like any other common insect.

Who do eastern Hercules beetles live with?

Hercules beetle larvae usually reside under a decaying bark of a tree for almost a year. Both Eastern and western Hercules beetles are solitary in nature except during the time of mating.

How long does an Eastern Hercules Beetle live?

Eastern Hercules beetle (Dynastes tityus) undergoes the phenomenon of metamorphosis under the ground where the larvae live for  6-12 months. Afterwards, they become adults and emerge above the ground after the spring and live for 3-6 months.

How do they reproduce?

When the adult eastern Hercules beetle comes above the ground, females start releasing pheromones to attract males. When all the males arrive together, they indulge in a fight where the males bang one another with their pincers in an attempt to win the female. One of them gets to mate with the particular female beetle. Following this, the female Eastern Hercules beetle lays eggs on the ground and a complete metamorphosis occurs with four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult Hercules beetle. The eggs hatch after 27 days, the larval stage continues for 6-12 months and the pupal stage lasts for a few weeks. After the entire process of metamorphosis, the adult Hercules beetle comes out and repeats the same life cycle.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List has Not Listed the status of the Hercules beetle but these species are said to be reduced in number because of the decline of rotting ash trees. Hercules beetle larvae primarily feed on decaying ash trees so if they tend to vanish, it will affect the number of Hercules beetles.

Eastern Hercules Beetle Fun Facts

What do eastern Hercules beetles look like?

These beetles, belonging to the family Scarabaeidae, have a dull shade of yellow or green with black uneven spots on their shell. The adult male has two large pincers or horns on his head and thorax, but the female does not have this. One horn is located on its head while the other horn is on the thorax. Due to these large horns, the males look bigger in size. The females just have a protruding area on their head instead of horns. The larvae are C-shaped and white in color. The only difference between a western Hercules beetle and an eastern Hercules beetle is that the western Hercules beetle has longer horns than the eastern Hercules beetle.

Eastern Hercules beetle males look slightly bigger than females.

How cute are they?

The appearance of an eastern Hercules beetle cannot be considered cute. It is a big insect with two pincers and black spots on its back and therefore it can scare off humans who are not fond of this species. The presence of horn does not help it look cute.

How do they communicate?

Like most beetles from the Coleoptera family, these types of beetles, too, have low vision and therefore communicate through the scent of chemicals like pheromones which the females release to attract the males. Another way is through sound which is created when the beetles rub their legs against their bodies. Some of them also communicate through vibrations.  

How big is an eastern Hercules beetle?

Their average size is 1.6-2.4 in (4-6 cm) but a few males can be 7 in long with their horns. Usually, these beetles are twice the size of a honey bee.

How fast can eastern Hercules beetles move?

Like most beetles, Hercules beetles can also fly quite long distances and move pretty fast but their exact speed has not been determined yet.

How much does an eastern Hercules beetle weigh?

The weight of an eastern Hercules beetle is no more than 5 oz (140 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

These male and female beetles do not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby eastern Hercules beetle?

A baby eastern Hercules beetle, like all other beetles, is known as larvae. The larvae are C-shaped and white in color.

What do they eat?

The larvae of these species have a diet that includes decaying wood, logs, and leaves of the ash trees. The adult beetles enjoy fresh as well as decaying fruits. When they are kept as pets, they are often fed peaches, tomatoes, grapes, and other fruits.

Are they harmful?

Hercules beetles may look frightening as they are large in size with scary-looking horns but they do not harm humans in any way. The eastern Hercules beetle bite is not common as they are usually very docile. Their horns are not harmful either. However, they might scratch you with their sharp legs if they somehow feel threatened by your touch.

Would they make a good pet?

Hercules beetles are very common pets in Asian countries. They are not aggressive insects and are quite easy to maintain, making the eastern Hercules beetle pet perfect for kids. Before buying a beetle, you should be well aware of the species. You should know where to keep it, and what kind of wood it likes to feed on.

Did you know...

Eastern Hercules beetle is named so because it is an extremely powerful creature. It has the ability to carry a weight that is 850 times its own body mass. In Japan, many people keep it as a pet because they consider large-sized beetles lucky and it represents determination.

What attracts eastern Hercules beetles?

If you want to attract an eastern Hercules beetle, the easiest way is to use ultraviolet (UV) lights at night in a clear forested area because, like most insects, these beetles are also drawn to UV lights.

Having your own eastern Hercules beetle

Hercules beetles are usually quite expensive, ranging from $470-$938 in US dollars. After doing proper research and buying these beetles, you should keep them in a container with at least three inches of soil so that the adults can spend time burrowing just like they do in the wild. You should feed them rotten apples, ripe bananas, oranges, and other fruits in certain intervals. If you have collected your beetle from the wild, then these fruits will keep them healthy and alive for almost three months but if you have grown the beetle from the larvae, then it can live happily for a year.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant african millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our beetle coloring pages.



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