Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Subject: The Biggest Bug I’ve ever seen!!
Location: Virginia Highlands area
August 20, 2013 4:59 am
Hi. My daughters and I were wondering what the heck is this?
We live in Virginia, near Bristol. My youngest, 8 years old, saw this bug in the front yard. She grabbed her well used butterfly net and snagged it. She was equal parts excited and apprehensive.
The date right now is Aug. 20, 2013. She caught it at 7:50 a.m. . She found it by the barbed wire fence that keeps the cows contained. The fence does how very old wooden post, if that helps. It was a slightly foggy morning, about 68 degrees.
We have lived here for 8 years and this is the first one we’ve ever seen. Are they new, or just hiding? I’m kind of scared of insects, but my girls are curious about the chance of seeing more of them.
We researched online and thought that maybe it was a female Stag Beetle, but the color seems to be too dark. We would be thankful for any help in discovering what kind of bug this is.
Thank You!
Signature: Jessica

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Jessica,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus, and the males of the species, which have horns, are the heaviest North American Beetles.  They are harmless.  The larvae feed on rotting tree stumps, so any nearby wooded areas probably provide a welcoming habitat for the Eastern Hercules Beetle.

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