Texas Beetle Information

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Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763)

Family Scarabaeidae, Subfamily Dynastinae, Tribe Dynastini

cf. D. granti

Eastern Hercules Beetle - Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763)

(male, females are sans horns)

Ozark County, MO (Tom Riley)

Texas County Range Map for Dynastes tityus

Eastern Hercules Beetle - Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763)

County Record Data from E.G. Riley, Dec. 2005

Plus Kaufman Co,

Range: Occurs from Illinois east to New York, south to the Gulf Coast, west to Central Texas.

Adult Activity:  

There are some 29 Texas specimens in the TAMU Insect Collection collected from January to August, most from June.

Month January February March April May June July August

Texas 3(?) 0 0 3 0 16 6 1


Usually uncommon, but has been recoded in great congregations on ash trees (Fraxinus spp., Oleaceae) by Manee (1915) and Cartwright (1976).


Adult 40 to 60 mm long (including the "horns" of the male) and 20 to 27 mm wide.
Color of adult variable, ranging from yellow-green or gray with mahogany spots to a uniform dark-mahogany color.
Sometimes with one elytron spotted and the other mahogany colored.

Life Cycle:

Larvae feed for 12 to 18 months on decaying wood of wild cherry, black locust, oak, pine, willow, and other trees.
Pupation occurs in late summer.
Adults hibernate for two to three months in their pupal cells in decaying wood.
Adult emerge from their pupal cells a few weeks after completing pupation, but remain underground for some time.
Adults feed on the sap of ash trees at scars made in the bark; they are also attracted to rotting fruit.
During the summer up to 40 eggs are laid over a one month period which hatch in about 30 days (per lab studies).
Large larvae overwinter leading to a two year life cycle.
Adults typically live three to six months, rarely up to a year plus (per lab studies).

Similar Species: Six species of Dynastes are found in the New World, three of which are found in the U.S. and Mexico. 

Dynastes granti Horn, 1870 - Arizona
Dynastes tityus
(Linnaeus, 1758) - Eastern North America
Dynastes hyllus
Chevrolat, 1843 - Occurs as far north as Tamaulipas, Mexico


Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763) - University of Nebraska State Museum
Eastern Hercules Beetle
(Dynastes tityus) - Texas A&M
Dynastes tityus, the rhinoceros beetle - Jay Comeaux
Captive Breeding Manual for Beetles of the Family Scarabaeidae - C. Campbell
Rearing the Hercules Beetle. Dynastes tityus - University of Kentucky


Dorsal male, Melanistic female, Close-up of male head, Partial melanism, Minimally spotted - BugGuide.Net 
Male pupa
, Male & female pupa, Larvae, Larva - BugGuide.Net 
Male and Female - Elytra and Antenna

Misc: Was featured on a U.S. stamp in October 1999, drawn by Steve Buchanan

Etymology: Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763)

dyn, -am, -amo, -ast (G). Be able; power, energy
titan, -o (G My). Gigantic; chalk

Biography: Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) - University of California, Berkeley 


Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. xiv + 861 pp.

Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. v + 134 pp.

Cartwright, O.L. 1976. Adult feeding by Dynastes tityus (Linn.) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). 30(4): 336.

Endrödi, S. 1985. The Dynastinae of the World. Dr. W. Junk Publisher, Dordrecht. 800 pp., 46 plates.

Glaser, J.D. 1976. The biology of Dynastes tityus (Linn.) in Maryland (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Coleopterists Bulletin, 30(2): 133-138.

Harpootlian, P.J. 2001. Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina. Biota of South Carolina 2: 1-157.

Lachaume, G. 1985. Dynastini 1: Dynastes-Megasoma-Golofa. Les Coléoptères du Monde, vol. 5. Sciences Nat, Venette, France. 85 pp., 29 plates.

Manee, A.H. 1915. Observations in Southern Pines, North Carolina (Hym., Col.). Entomological News 26: 265-268.

McMonigle, O. 2001. The Complete Guide to Rearing Grant's Rhinoceros Beetle. Elytra and Antenna, Brunswick Hills, OH. 37 pp. 

Riley, E.G. & C.S. Wolfe. 2003. An annotated checklist of the Scarabaeoidea of Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplement, no. 26. 37 pp.

Ritcher, P.O. 1966. White Grubs and Their Allies, a Study of North American Scarabaeoid Larvae. Oregon State University Monograph Series No. 4: 1-219.

Saylor, L.W. 1948. Synoptic revision of the United States scarab beetles of the subfamily Dynastinae, No. 4: Tribe Oryctini (Part). Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 38(5): 176-183.

White, R.E. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 368 pp.

09 Dec 2008  © Mike Quinn / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetles / Texas Beetle Photos /