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Western Hercules Beetle (Dynastes granti)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Western Hercules Beetle

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Image Credit: Matt A.
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Image Credit: Richard S. taken in Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, AZ
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The large, hefty Western Hercules Beetle thrives in desert landscapes and can easily fit in the palm of your hand.

Updated: 02/17/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Western Hercules Beetles are a horned Scarab Beetle found most commonly in Arizona and the surrounding arid U.S. and Mexican states. Patterns of dark spots on the elytra (wing coverings) vary per individual. The beetle can be an earthy yellow color, or it may appear almost completely black, depending on how wet the beetle is. Males have a long 'horn' used to fight with other males over territory needed for mating. Females do not have horns. Younger males have a darker thorax and head that becomes lighter as they age. Both genders are attracted to light at night. They are not particularly aggressive toward humans.

Adults feed on ash tree sap and can be found at higher elevations or in canyons. Grubs can be found in rotting wood, especially sycamore trees. It may take a few years before they mature into adults.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Scarabaeidae
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          Genus: Dynastes
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            Species: granti

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Dynastes granti
Other Name(s): Southwestern Hercules Beetle; Grant's Hercules Beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 60mm (1.77" to 2.36")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: tan; yellow; brown; black; white
Descriptors: large; horn; speckled; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 45mm (1.8in) and 60mm (2.4in)
Lo: 45mm
Md: 52.5mm
Hi: 60mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Western Hercules Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Western Hercules Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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