March 15, 2023

Hercules Beetle

Hercules Beetle

In this episode we talk about the Hercules Beetle! Relax, unwind, and join me in the Amazon in Brazil, where we learn all about the world's Herculean insect.


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hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am staff Wolff and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case this creature does not fit neatly into any of those categories because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful Hercules beetle this of course is a very special listener episode dedicated to make and and scout thank you both for taking the time to write in your suggestions and I hope you enjoy your very own episode for how to request an animal and for all of the facts that were used in this episode that information is immediately available in the description or the show notes of this episode but I will also go over it at the end of the episode as well if you love the show and want to support it all while getting access to exclusive episodes and intro free episodes you can go to patrie on dot com slash relax with animal facts or just click the patron link in the description below for only a dollar a month you can get access to all of these things and more and now we're going to begin to wind down as always I have three expectations for you the first thing I encourage you to do is to put on your favorite pair of hiking shoes we are certainly going to be needing that we're we are going today and the second thing is to notice perhaps where we are carrying some tension throughout the day we might be shrugging our shoulders or tensing our hands now everyone is different in this regard in terms of where they carry tension but the exhortation is the same none the less try to picture maybe cello and do your best to impersonate it relax whatever it is the that is tensing for you relaxing is much easier when we are not stiff as a board and the last thing I ask is to give your mind permission to wonder and journey with me into the Brazilian Amazon with Hercules beetle resides many times on our trips together I have compared the soundscapes of particular places to something like an orchestra where every member of the natural world is contributing to the soundscape in some way somewhere on the strings summer on percussion Summerlin wind but here in the Amazon I am hard pressed to think of any other environment that has more players in the orchestra than this one and today we get to enjoy this natural performance as we look around for the Hercules beetle the scientific name of this creature is dynast these Hercules now that we're dying nasties comes from a Latin word but faith Latin word has its origins in the Greek word that is used to describe a ruler a chief %HESITATION lowered or a master it generally describes somebody with power and that latter word Hercules I think many of us know the mythological origins of that name and thanks to the mythological work of some of the ancients we have come to really associate the word or name Hercules with something of great strength and so with we were to take these two words by nasties Hercules it would be something like ruler of strength or chief in strength this would make sense considering the Hercules beetle is one of the world's largest insects and what they're most known for is those characteristic horns these horns will only be on the mail Hercules beetles but these Longhorns are going to grow from their heads and from the middle of their bodies these horns come together to resemble something like a claw over like a pincer the Hercules beetle that we're looking for today is a species of rhinoceros beetle and rhinoceros beetles comprised over fifteen hundred species they include things like horned beetles and unicorn Beatles and they are known for their unique arrangements there are vast sizes like in the case of the Hercules beetle today these are some of the coolest insects and we have the privilege of finding one today now while the rhinoceros beetle has over fifteen hundred species the Hercules beetle has thirteen subspecies as is always the case they're going to differ somewhat in color and slightly in size the common brown blue green black yellow and white the ones we are going to be finding today are going to be black in color we will not have the privilege of seeing any blue or yellow ones but we can know that they are out there as is the case with other Beatles they're going to have a very hard outer shell something like natural armor that is going to shine in the sun and these shiny parts are actually the wings of the animal these four wings are referred to as a literature these are actually hardened for wings that act something like a cover over the functional wings that are underneath and this is because adult Hercules beetles can fly some might say they clumsily fly but they fly like the majority of other insects Hercules beetles will have six legs as well while there are contenders for largest insect the Hercules beetle takes the gold medal for being the longest beetle in the world this is due to these amazing horns which are also called Ross Strom's and these horns are going to be used for some interest species competition usually in competition for the females the males will fight by trying to lift one another up over their head and throwing them down in victory the length or size of the horn is often indicative of the health of the beetle and of course it will serve as a good weapon in battle and so the reason they're called Hercules beetles is not just because the locust wrong but indeed because they are strong they can carry up to eight hundred and fifty times their own weight now there have been some conflicting claims as to how strong the Hercules beetle actually is in one source mainly in the Guinness book of world records it lists that it can lift up to eight hundred and fifty times its own weight but as to how this number of eight hundred and fifty times was reached it is somewhat of a mystery researchers in an experiment in nineteen ninety five documented that the Hercules beetle could carry one hundred times their own weight not eight hundred and fifty times their own weight this number is nothing to scoff at if we were to put that in human terms if you wait let's say one hundred and fifty pounds that would be the equivalent of lifting fifteen thousand pounds and still being able to move around that of course is absolutely ridiculous as far as human beings are concerned but the Hercules beetle does have some Hercules strength there is a dung beetle but researchers have found can pull one thousand one hundred and forty one times its own weight which would really make it seem as if they are the strongest insect for over three Hercules beetle and perhaps a really good creature to cover in a future episode now in terms of their sheer size they will grow around four and a half inches long and weighed over three and a half ounces three and a half ounces is about point oh six pounds this means that if they can carry over a hundred times their weight this creature that is zero point zero six pounds can carry six and a quarter pounds that is very impressive the Hercules beetle is going to spend the majority of its life as a larva this stage of their life will take around two years before they turn into an adult but once they are indeed adults their lifespan will be about three to six months in captivity they have been seen to be able to live as long as a year but in general half the year especially in the wild is more of the norm but these larval eye are very interesting the larva of the dynasty's Hercules or the Hercules beetle has a very important role in ecology in this stage they help with something known as nutrient cycling as well as bio degradation basically these large live feed on decaying wood and acts something like a recycling unit in the wild and so even though they spend the majority of their life in this more of a state they are in no way inactive as regards their ecological role they contribute much to their environment even if they are not adults walking around and they also realized that we did not cover why we are here in Brazil to begin with well we could have been in many other places in South America for example but I figured we hadn't been to the Amazon in quite awhile but there are Hercules beetles that are native to the Lesser Antilles Trinidad Tobago the east and west of the Andes and as well as tropical forests of central and South America and so we could have gone somewhere else if we wanted to one interesting fact about the Hercules beetle is that they are nocturnal this means they will be awake and eating feeding during the night time as opposed to being diurnal or feeding during the daytime and here in the Amazon we are in a very humid environment and one strain G. or unique thing about the Hercules beetle is that it changes color depending on whether it is in a humid or dry environment this of course depends on the start color of the beetle but some of these will turn from let's say a greenish or yellow color to a black color when it is humid as to why exactly this happens researchers seem to shrug their shoulders here and I'd love when scientists do that because it is quite exciting for all of you future animal researchers just how many more mysteries there or to solve here is something of a mystery to me it is that they are harmless we have talked much about the herculean strength of this beetle off those intimidating horns that they have and all of those things are true but they are certainly not aggressive and indeed totally harmless to us they might not be harmless to each other or to other small insects but to us they pose no threat they do not really bite they don't sting in any way but that doesn't mean picking it up is all that great of an idea they still have legs that are covered with sharp little spines and so they can scratch you if you're not careful and even though they are herculean and their strength we as human beings are much much larger and so when they are handled they should be handled with care as they would be Fred child to us and now let us move on to the name of this creature that Hercules beetle what do those words mean or rather where do they come from so we're going to cover each one separately beginning with the word beetle it seems to come from an Old English word that meant something like a little biter or biting insect and it has its derivation from a Germanic word that refers to biting unfortunately that is as far as it goes I could not find anything in Latin or Greek that relates to this word and sometimes that is simply the way entomology goes and now Hercules perhaps not so much the word with rather than name Hercules is of course that distinct Greek hero who is the son of Zeus and Alcmene and he was worshipped by the Romans as a god of strength and the name Hercules in the creek is Heraclitus which means the glory of Hera a sidebar that Hera is where we get hero referring to someone of super human strength or courage but let us not get too far and so of course this Greek hero was imported to much of our culture in the form of popular movies and whatnot that even kids today you know the story that the kids in ancient Greece two thousand years ago would have known about that is something quite special and now let us move on to the review portion of the show and this review comes from someone named after underscore rate and then the numbers one through nine and they're writing all the way from the United States of America and after rights started listening today supercool animal facts about animals I've never even heard of Stefan's voice is so relaxing and it's the perfect thing to keep me entertained on my daily walk today I learned about the barracuda and the a kidnap I can't wait for more animals thank you AB for leaving such a wonderful view I am so glad that you are now a part of what makes the show so great as are all of you listening it's always so cool when someone finds the podcast for the first time and leaves a review like this I am glad to be a part of your daily walks after and I look forward to having you learn right along with me about all of the future animals the part of the review where apple wrote that they were animals that they had never even heard of is something that is remarkably relatable to me I cannot tell you how many times in this podcasts history that I have gotten a request from one of you out there and I've had to Google this creature because I had never heard of it and sometimes the animals are so weird or bizarre but I am surprised an animal like this even exists we have covered some of these creatures on the podcast but there are many many more to come the natural world seems to have so many gifts awaiting discovery now if the show has helped you at all leaving a review is one of the most impactful and quickest ways to give back to the show whether it's a one or a five star it helps the show grow it helps more listeners like app find the podcast to begin with and of course it's very quick to do and so that is always encouraged if you would like to request to have your very own animal episode you can send your request by going to relax with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animals request tab if you wish to contact me for any other reason you can do so by going to relax with animal facts on Instagram or by sending an email to relax with animal facts at G. mail dot com if you would like exclusive episodes and intro free episodes all while supporting the show you can do so for only a dollar a month on Petri on dot com slash relax with animal facts all of your support means the world and you truly help keep the show going the fact that were used in this episode come from a to Z. animal oils dot com fact animal dot com biology dictionary dot net antonym dept dot UFL dot EDU and at him online dot com all of those resources are in the show notes or the description and I encourage you to search to your heart's content and look at all the other things that they have without these resources this podcast episode would not have been possible what an amazing creature we have covered today given how strong they are we can only imagine how strong they would be if they were the size of a dog or of an actual rhinoceros there are so many paradoxical realities to nature and to live the smallest creatures are often the strongest by proportion the most unassuming or common creatures are often those that have the most to be discovered about them thank you all for taking the time to join me on this immersive experience follow ready to share the podcast if you enjoyed it and I look forward to having you on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care