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It all started with a dumptruck of garden soil...


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Hello gang,

 

New to the forum and just wanted to share why I'm now hooked on beetles and hit y'all up for some tips about raising Stategus Aloeus. I am new to rearing insects of any kind but could not help myself when I discovered my newly arrived garden soil (with turkey manure mixed in. Expensive stuff) was full of MASSIVE grubs. At first I was panicked thinking these would eat the roots of my plants. But then I started putting the pieces together. Large dead brown beetle. Massive grubs with reddish brown limbs. Manure. My soil was "infested" with Strategus grubs! My suspicions were confirmed after bringing in 9 of the largest I could find and rearing them to the scarab stage in a 10 gallon tank of garden soil, rotted wood from a fallen oak tree and oak leaves. Now every 3-4 nights I hear the cute scratching sound and observe a male parading through the tank, attempting to enter other dens for propagation (?). I've already seen this particular male be forced/blocked out by another male who had a female further beneath him in the den. Exciting stuff! And I got it on video. Anyway: So how can I ensure at this point in the process that another generation survives. I've tried putting out fresh apple slices, banana, and sliced tomato at different times and it doesn't appear they are eating. Are there any pitfalls I might not be aware of? Also, if I wanted to pin one, should I wait till it dies somewhere in the tank and hope to find it or should I sacrifice one towards the end of its life cycle. This of course may depend on how attached I may become.

 

Good news to add: Rather than have other less ambitious soil customers be livid with the garden soil wholesaler, I was able to pass on the identification, assuring them that they were in fact beneficial and shouldn't harm any future gardens. Hope I'm right.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Greg- San Antonio, TX

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Hello gang,

 

New to the forum and just wanted to share why I'm now hooked on beetles and hit y'all up for some tips about raising Stategus Aloeus. I am new to rearing insects of any kind but could not help myself when I discovered my newly arrived garden soil (with turkey manure mixed in. Expensive stuff) was full of MASSIVE grubs. At first I was panicked thinking these would eat the roots of my plants. But then I started putting the pieces together. Large dead brown beetle. Massive grubs with reddish brown limbs. Manure. My soil was "infested" with Strategus grubs! My suspicions were confirmed after bringing in 9 of the largest I could find and rearing them to the scarab stage in a 10 gallon tank of garden soil, rotted wood from a fallen oak tree and oak leaves. Now every 3-4 nights I hear the cute scratching sound and observe a male parading through the tank, attempting to enter other dens for propagation (?). I've already seen this particular male be forced/blocked out by another male who had a female further beneath him in the den. Exciting stuff! And I got it on video. Anyway: So how can I ensure at this point in the process that another generation survives. I've tried putting out fresh apple slices, banana, and sliced tomato at different times and it doesn't appear they are eating. Are there any pitfalls I might not be aware of? Also, if I wanted to pin one, should I wait till it dies somewhere in the tank and hope to find it or should I sacrifice one towards the end of its life cycle. This of course may depend on how attached I may become.

 

Good news to add: Rather than have other less ambitious soil customers be livid with the garden soil wholesaler, I was able to pass on the identification, assuring them that they were in fact beneficial and shouldn't harm any future gardens. Hope I'm right.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Greg- San Antonio, TX

 

First off, welcome to beetleforum.net! :D

 

I am going to be breeding Lucanus and (hopefully) Dynastes species, according to online the care is similar (pretty much the same) grub wise for your beetles and other rhinos. Well, for yours and dynastes anyways. The Lucanus are a bit more picky in that they need the wood instead of garden soil ;):P

 

Lucanus (the person on here) would be a good person to talk to for info on these :) I don't know if they have bred these ones but they helped me with mine. I am simply going to say what info I got from other people ;)

 

You can use this (and mix in some of the rotting wood/leafs for extra :) ) with the larva. I am going to get some to use with mine.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/outdoors/landscaping-supplies/miracle-gro/organic-choice-garden-soil-15-cu-ft-53982.html

 

For pinning something I, personally, wouldn't kill one of the beetles (no matter how old it was) for pinning it. I don't know how pinning works but I just wouldn't be able to kill one ;)

 

For the dynastes and lucanus you separate each male into large containers (big enough to house the beetles) and give them a female. Let them mate successfully and then put the females into the tank where the larva are going to be housed. They then lay the eggs and then you repeat the care by keeping food (wood/leaf stuff) in their substrate and by keeping them slightly moist (so they don't dehydrate).

 

Online someone had posted on another site that their beetles loved bananas. Maybe if you have the extra money you could try beetle jelly?

http://shop.bugsincyberspace.com/Beetle-Jelly-6-packs-bic878.htm

I have never used it before, but a lot of other people do :)

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Awesome! What kind of strategus are they? And where do you live?

 

Anyways, welcome to the club! Hope you enjoy your time here!

 

Thanks for the info. Right now I've enjoyed watching the wandering male try to enter other dens guarded by other males. Usually this is just a pushing match of sorts. From my count last night however it seems I have atleast 5 males and 2 females and 2 I haven't seen yet. Probably not a good ratio but initially I just handpicked 9 from the garden soil and must've not picked enough of the smaller (female) grubs. When turning the garden over though I was finding hundreds!

 

This scene is currently going down in San Antonio, Texas. I guess I'm getting conflicting info about species however. I've keyed it as Strategus Aloeus (Ox beetle) but I'm also seeing references to Linnaeus and Dynastinae. Which means more to entomologists on this forum as a descriptor?

 

I tried to post a photo but it was too large. Any hints on how best to downsize my photos for this forum?

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Thanks for the info. Right now I've enjoyed watching the wandering male try to enter other dens guarded by other males. Usually this is just a pushing match of sorts. From my count last night however it seems I have atleast 5 males and 2 females and 2 I haven't seen yet. Probably not a good ratio but initially I just handpicked 9 from the garden soil and must've not picked enough of the smaller (female) grubs. When turning the garden over though I was finding hundreds!

 

This scene is currently going down in San Antonio, Texas. I guess I'm getting conflicting info about species however. I've keyed it as Strategus Aloeus (Ox beetle) but I'm also seeing references to Linnaeus and Dynastinae. Which means more to entomologists on this forum as a descriptor?

 

I tried to post a photo but it was too large. Any hints on how best to downsize my photos for this forum?

 

When I looked it up the care was the same for Dynastes and Strategus. Thats why i was talking about both.

 

I use photobucket for all my photos. But if you want to shrink your photos a simply way (assuming you have windows as the OS of your computer) is just to open said photo in paint and click resize on the top and then change the size from there.

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When I looked it up the care was the same for Dynastes and Strategus. Thats why i was talking about both.

 

I use photobucket for all my photos. But if you want to shrink your photos a simply way (assuming you have windows as the OS of your computer) is just to open said photo in paint and click resize on the top and then change the size from there.

 

Thanks, thats useful info. It seemed like an unusually smll size limit (500 kb). I'll post some pictures.

 

As for species, is Dynastae a species or family/subfamily? Taxonomy was not my best subject. Need to read more.

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Dynastes is a genus. While Dynastinae is a subfamily, there are more than just dynastes in that subfamily thought so thats why I was saying Dynastes directly.

 

Strategus is a genus.

 

They are both related though that I am understanding.

 

Hope that helped :D

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Attached is a photo of one of the males I reared from my garden soil. He is one of seven I have. I believe this to be Strategus Aloeus. If anyone thinks otherwise, lets hash it out?

 

They seem to mostly be active at night however last week we had alot of rain during the afternoons and one was out wandering. I was FINALLY able to handle one. What fun! My twin 2yo boys loved watching it climb my arm. I'll share those too when I have time. Cheers!

 

Bruno3.bmp

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The problem is my point and shoot takes crappy pictures at night. And since they are most active at night this is usually my best chance at a shot. But take the lid off and they fly into the desk or ceiling light. I've posted a few from the other day when I found one wandering. They really are a beautiful dark brown/almost cherry wood color. See attached. Any other input on whether this is Strategus Aloeus or another?

 

THANKS!

Bruno5.bmp

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Oh no. I just read Ratcliffe's paper on the revision of the Strategus genus (See link, if you dare). Now I really don't know what kind of beetles I have.

 

According to it, with so much variability even within species of the horns and external morphology, I had better start photographing beetle genitalia. It recommends genitalia shape as the best way to key your Strategus. Apparently it is one of the most commonly muddled genus of insects. Imagine that. Did NOT know I'd be looking at beetle genitalia when I started this experiment.

 

Anyone already been through this? Read Ratcliffe's paper?

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After seeing this photo you took... I think it might be SA just as you stated in the beginning. The angle left me confused and it looked like some other species. Plus... this thing looks pretty big.

 

The paper is one I have read but there are ways to identify without looking at the genitalia, it's just hard.

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You made a BIG MISTAKE by looking at the identification for ALL species of beetles in Genus Strategus.

There are only six species of Strategus species in the U.S. and most of them are pretty much easy to distinguish from each other.

 

The one you have in the picture looks like a minor male Strategus aloeus to me but a picture of a female is needed to confirm that.

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You made a BIG MISTAKE by looking at the identification for ALL species of beetles in Genus Strategus.

There are only six species of Strategus species in the U.S...

 

LOL... he is right!

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LOL... he is right!

 

Funny! An example where too many options is bad. That cuts it down quite abit. I noticed y'all had an area for beetle ID's. What recommendations do you have for scarab ID's by photo? I took some photos of my beetles underside yesterday but wasn't sure if it would be helpful to most.

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Funny! An example where too many options is bad. That cuts it down quite abit. I noticed y'all had an area for beetle ID's. What recommendations do you have for scarab ID's by photo? I took some photos of my beetles underside yesterday but wasn't sure if it would be helpful to most.

 

Well...male Strategus aloeus seems to look almost identical to S. mormon and I still haven't found a key for distinguishing them.

 

However, Strategus aloeus female looks very different compare to S. mormon so all I need is a picture of a S. aloeus female.

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Well...male Strategus aloeus seems to look almost identical to S. mormon and I still haven't found a key for distinguishing them.

 

However, Strategus aloeus female looks very different compare to S. mormon so all I need is a picture of a S. aloeus female.

 

The Ratcliffe article (see link in previous post) has key-like info for both plus (too) many others. My amateur status however prevents me from knowing all of the body parts mentioned. Although I'm not averse to learning or trying its, not easy summer reading. Perhaps if you had a link to a good, detailed anatomical reference? The article suggests both have been observed in San Antonio (Bexar County) although SA is much heavily reported in SA. I like a good mystery!

 

I'll see about the female. I have a dead female in my freezer taken shortly after my dumptruck load of dirt had been spread (thus my profile name). My 2 living females I believe and hope are busy breeding because I haven't seen much of them lately above ground. Thanks

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Hey, I noticed something... The elytra are pretty striated for S. mormon. S. aloeus is supposed to have this look. From the side... I really thought it was S mormon... but from this view I can say I'm 70-30 about this one.

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