LEAP DAY POSTING 2016: Unseasonal Sighting of male Eastern Hercules Beetles in Virginia

Leap Day Posting UpdateJust as we decided to to change the status of this posting, we realized another possibility.  Might Rhinoceros Beetles hibernate if they don’t mate or if they emerge late in the season?   

Subject: large “horned” beetle
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
February 28, 2016 8:23 am
Hi, I just found these beetles in the rotted out center of an old (100+ yrs.) dead red oak tree stump in New Market, Virginia. I was mixing dirt into the compost-like material when I found them. Their bodies are appx. 2 1/2 inches long. At first I thought I was looking at a bug with vertical pinchers but then I realized that only the bottom one moved. They have two smaller “horns” on either side of the large one. I think their eyes are down near where the lower pincher meets the body. Can you tell me anything about these beetles?
Signature: Steve N.

Male Eastern Hercules Beetles
Male Eastern Hercules Beetles

Dear Steve,
What a marvelous discovery you have made.  These are male Eastern Hercules Beetles,
Dynastes tityus, the heaviest species of beetle found in North America.  Immature grubs are found in rotting wood.  Adults normally appear in summer, with most sightings occurring in July.  We are guessing that unusual weather is causing emergence schedules of insects to change.  We suspect these two guys completed metamorphosis and perhaps they are waiting for ideal conditions to emerge from the rotting stump to mate and reproduce.

Male Eastern Hercules Beetle
Male Eastern Hercules Beetle

8 thoughts on “LEAP DAY POSTING 2016: Unseasonal Sighting of male Eastern Hercules Beetles in Virginia”

  1. Dear Bug Professional- I found a Male Hercules Horned Beetle at Fort Belvoir VA! Beautiful creature, he didn’t survive though one of his legs was damaged, I tried to save him.

  2. I found a beautiful specimen today upside down on my patio. It has now died but is perfectly intact. Rappahannock county VA.


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