Saturday, July 23, 2016

I Met an Eastern Hercules Beetle Today

I wasn't sure whether to scream or faint when I saw it lying there on the steps.  It was THE biggest, strangest, and most frightening beetle I've ever seen.  It was on its back with legs in the air.  I skittered past it quickly and hurried upstairs. However, once upstairs I felt sorry for the little creature on it's back - legs slowly pumping, useless in the air.  I took my camera, and righted the creature, taking enough photos to be able to identify it as a Scarab Beetle known as an Eastern Hercules Beetle.

What is a Scarab Beetle?

Other than carvings on Egyptian artifacts I had no clue what a Scarab Beetle was.  I had to look it up.  According to :


  1. any scarbaeid beetle, especially Scarabaeus sacer, regarded as sacred by the ancient Egyptians
  2.  a representation or image of a beetle, much used among the ancient Egyptions as a symbol, seal, amulet or the like.
  3.  a gen cut to resemble a beetle.

Ah, so that settles it. My visitor was a Scarabaeus sacer.  Except, I didn't know what that was either. So I had to look it up.  The Scarabaeus sacer, otherwise known as a Mediterranean Dung Beetle. Aha! I've seen those on television shows on nature channels.  Yes, Dung Beetles.  Except this prettily painted beetle was not plain black in color. So I had to look some more.

More about the Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hercules Beetles are in the Scarabaeidae family, which include June Beetles, Japaneese Beetles, and Dung Beetles. There we go, I have had some up-close-and-personal experiences with Japaneese and June Beetles.  

The Eastern Hercules Beetle is the largest.  And my visitor was a male as evidenced by his horns.  Mrs. Hercules has no horns and is a bit smaller.  Mr. Hercules can grow to almost 2 1/2 inches long.  

Their colors are varied.  When I look at just his color (and ignore that face and those legs) I am mesmerized. It looks like some sort of beautiful water colored Rorschack test.

Their life span includes egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. I will not share any photos of the eggs, larvae, and pupae because I do not find them at all endearing.  But the adult male - after a few minutes - I began to see him as pretty.  

The good news is, they are not considered pests and can be found both in Maryland and in West Virginia. If I keep my eyes open, I may see another Eastern Hercules Beetle at some point. 

Here are some children, some adorable children who are much more brave than I am. They were brave enough to hold their Mr. Hercules visitor in North Carolina:

My Hercules

I turned him over several times after moving him to the mulch, behind a shrub, and to the shade.  And when I checked on him later I found him belly-up again. And when I checked on him even later. It is a good possibility that he's at the end of his life cycle since they live for less than 6 months as an adult.

After my initial fright, I am glad to have seen this interesting beetle. My interest in scarabs has grown and apparently I am only catching up with many people who like these beetles.

A face only his momma can love

Scarab and Beetle Gifts, Clothing, and Jewelry:

I was aware that Scarabs were a part of Egyptian art and the carved gems are used for jewelry. I've always loved ladybugs. But I had no idea how currently popular Scarab and beetle items are.  And I MUST get the Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature's Gems. If you are at all interested in beetles, you can see what this book has to offer in the "look inside" feature.  I can see that my visitor is not the only strange beetle in existence.

THE Book of Beetles

CowCow Women's Skater Dress - Beetles

Egyptian Sterling Silver Scarab Bracelet


  1. I just saw this post Dawn Rae, I had a beetle from Brazil that was very much like this guy only bigger. I used to bring him to school for show and tell. He looked like a mini triceritop dinosaur in beetle form. My classmates were always totally aghast! I loved

    1. I love that your classmates were aghast and you loved it. I'm not the type of person who is really scared of "bugs" but this guy sure startled me at first. I may have been one of your classmates who were aghast.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your tale of how you moved from being a little afraid of the beetle to admiring him. He is a very pretty bug for sure. But you know what I personally admire most? I admire you for caring about the beetle. Even though it "bugged" you, you tried to help him by turning him over and then moving him into a shade. No doubt, you made his last hour on earth a whole lot easier for him.

  4. Wow, what a handsome fella! I think it looks like he's wearing camo and would fit right in with the soldiers that train at the military facility near our home. I wouldn't hold a beetle, but I might turn it over if I saw one on its back. As long as he or she doesn't touch me, I'm good. Very interesting information on your new friend!

  5. P.S. I'm not sure I could handle wearing that skater dress without getting the heebie-jeebies, but it's cute as can be and I do love the colors.

  6. P.S. I'm not sure I could handle wearing that skater dress without getting the heebie-jeebies, but it's cute as can be and I do love the colors.

  7. I wouldn't touch one, either...I recognized him, knew he was harmless, but didn't know "Hercules" was his name (or that he was male).

  8. What cool markings your Eastern Hercules Beetle has, you had me googling after your story to see if we get them in Australia, but alas it looks like I won't see one pop by my place anytime soon!