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I'm a herpetologist with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona and have recently been given the additional task of becoming our interim insect keeper. I've been out blacklighting over the past several weeks (Monsoon Season) and have managed to add a dozen or two new beetles to our collection and will be taking a crash course on beetle husbandry here on the forum. My first task will be a trip up to the White Mountains during the new moon in mid August to revive our Dynastes colony.


I've picked up a great deal of very usefull info here so far and look forward to the challenge of my new duties at the Museum. Many thanks to all here who have posted...



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Hello Russ,

I visited your museum and Arizona for the first time last week for the ATS conference. The museum was a highlight of my trip.

Of course you have many beetles to choose from but the most spectacular like the largest longhorns and Plusiotis species live only a few weeks so displays would be short-lived. D.granti are beautiful but survive just a few months, if you had the opportunity to use D.tityus (very similar eastern relative) the adults live 8-10 months captive bred. I would suggest Calosoma scrutator, Moneilema gigas and mixed large darklings for displays. All three are easy to take care of and tend to live a year or more and would make handsome, easy to restock, multiple-specimen, permanent displays. C. scrutator can be fed crickets, but you can keep a group together and they are incredibly difficult to breed . M. gigas eat prickly pear and cholla and are somewhat difficult to rear from eggs. Darklings (like the Model T come in any color you want as long as that color is black) of various shapes and sizes can be kept in the same display. There are some large Eleodes around you and a neat Embaphion in Madera Canyon. They can be fed dog food and fruits and some species are relatively easy to rear.



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Hi Russ,


Congrats on the job. It's sort of a dream job for lots of us out here. Orin and I were down for the American Tarantula Society conference and your exhibit is a great one for people that aren't able to make it out in the field themselves. Luckily, I was able to spend ten days collecting in Southern Arizona (and SE California) again this year. I spent an evening with John Palting once again, collecting in Madera canyon this time. He is one of your predecessors in the insect positon at the museum there (worked with Steve Prchal).


I highly recommend Orin's Elytra and Antenna book series on husbandry of various beetles. You won't find a more expert keeper on US beetles.


I'm currently working with the following AZ beetles:


All three Chrysina spp. (I still prefer Plusiotis)

Phileurus truncatus

Hemiphileurus illatus

Megasoma punctulatus

(Pseudo-)Lucanus mazama

Pelidnota lugubris

Cotalpa consobrina

a slew of tenebrionids

And a few other odds in ends...


(and other bugs, of course)


I'm extremely curious to know what beetles you collected in that 12-24 species range! Caring for bugs is fun. Sharing them with others for education is even better! Blacklighting in AZ, however, takes the cake!



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