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Help! New, first time owner xylotrupes Gideon sumatrenis seeking advice

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Hi all,

I've recently purchased a xylotrupes Gideon sumatrenis rhino beetle larvae. I've never owned an exotic pet before and even with countless searches I have not managed to find all the information I want.

The larvae I purchased was an L2, but the packet said L3 - yet it's not the "yellowy" colour an L3 in the photos I've seen is, could it have been mislabeled?

If it is an L2, how long could it take before it becomes a beetle?

How do I know if my larvae had cocooned yet? Because I've read that I shouldn't disturb it when it does.

I've currently got it in a tub with larvae substrate bought from a beetle website, I spray it every couple of days but it always seems to dry out - is the larvae going to be ok?


I'm sorry for the barrage of questions, but there's lots of beetles and even with reading all the care sheets I could find on my particular one, these never seem to be answered!

Thank you in advance for your help and knowledge sharing!

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It is possible it was mislabeled, however it seems more likely that it’s a young L3, as they don’t develop the yellowish color until they’re further developed. A good way to be certain is to look up the head diameter of each stage, then measure the head of the larva you have (most measurements in the beetle hobby are taken in millimeters, so a metric ruler or a set of calipers would be most useful in this situation).

while I’m not totally sure, I think it can be safely said that the egg-adult cycle of Xylotrupes Gideon (in good rearing conditions) is most likely around a year, though it could take 2 (our native Dynastes Tityus take 2 years to develop in the wild, likely due to their winter diapause schedule. In captivity, they normally take a year to develop, but I have a friend who’s larva took 3 years to develop). In any case, probably give it a good 8 months to develop.

When a larva is preparing to pupate, it’ll make a chamber, usually at the bottom of the substrate or against the wall of its container, and sit there for a good half month or so, during this time there will be minimal movement and the larva is what is known as a “prepupa”. After this period has passed, the large will molt and become a pupa, which you would be able to see through the side of the tank.

if the substrate is drying out quickly like that, it means there’s too much ventilation. The only ventilation for the tank should be a few pinholes in the top of the lid. If it’s a screen lid you can tape over the inside to keep airflow minimal. The substrate shouldn’t dry out more often than every few months or so, if ever. Also, the larva can survive dry substrate for a few days, but if it happens often the resulting adult can be small and sickly.

hope this helps!

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