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jaccob

ID help- eastern Hercules beetle?

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I'm sorry these aren't the best pictures and don't show the whole body, but they're the best I could get without handling the larva and I've heard the oils on my skin could damage it so I've not touched the larva at all if I can help it.

I found this under a log while collecting insects for my entomology class and I wasn't sure what it was especially because of its size (I'd guess it's at least a couple inches long) and I'd never seen a grub that big before, so I put it in a vial with some soil and showed it to my professor. As far as he can tell it's likely an eastern Hercules beetle. If it helps more, I'm in Western North Carolina up in the mountains. I found it about two weeks ago. Since finding it, I've been keeping it in a plastic container with some soil, a wet cotton ball for water, and decaying tree bark I pull off pretty soft tree stumps that it's been eating a lot of. I figure since it's definitely been eating the bark it must be pretty good. 

I just wanted some other opinions on what it is and sorry I couldn't get a more full body picture without handling it. I've been trying to minimize how often I touch it. 

IMG_7876.jpg

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I exceeded maximum file size by adding more than 1 picture, so here's another. It was eating the leaf when I took this one. 

IMG_7867.jpg

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The only thing I might be interested in seeing is it’s anal slit. I believe North Carolina also has Lucanus elaphus, which look very similar (to me) as larvae except for the end portion of their abdomen and anal slit.

You can toss that cotton ball. The larva will get all the moisture it needs from investing the humid soil and rotten wood. Also, you’re in the clear to handle it gently, just try to limit the frequency with which you do so. A lot of us check our larvae only once a month or more.

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The oils on your hands won’t harm the grub (if anything they’d probably add to the wax layers on the skin of the larva, which is good), handling related deaths are mainly due to the stress of being dug up too often. It’s definitely an eastern Hercules, almost all stag beetle grubs have orange heads, whereas most rhino beetles have dark brown heads (although I believe strategus May have orangish heads too). Definitely toss the cotton ball, it’ll do more harm than good if the grub ingests it (I haven’t heard of it before, but I bet it’s possible a grub could “choke” on cotton). Also, how deep is that substrate? A healthy grub should almost never be seen on the surface, and the sub should be at least 4 inches deep.

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20 hours ago, Bugboy3092 said:

The oils on your hands won’t harm the grub (if anything they’d probably add to the wax layers on the skin of the larva, which is good), handling related deaths are mainly due to the stress of being dug up too often. It’s definitely an eastern Hercules, almost all stag beetle grubs have orange heads, whereas most rhino beetles have dark brown heads (although I believe strategus May have orangish heads too). Definitely toss the cotton ball, it’ll do more harm than good if the grub ingests it (I haven’t heard of it before, but I bet it’s possible a grub could “choke” on cotton). Also, how deep is that substrate? A healthy grub should almost never be seen on the surface, and the sub should be at least 4 inches deep.

Thanks for the ID help and I tossed the cotton ball. I hadn't thought about the food already containing water when I added it. I figured I was helping by giving it water. 

And I'll also purchase a deeper container and move it over so it can dig deeper this weekend because the larva definitely does not have 4 inches of substrate. 

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