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What is the best beetle for beginners?

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My friend, you have some amazing beetles native to NZ. Why not try breeding the stunning Manuka beetle (Pyronota festiva)? It is extremely common during the spring and summer. Or even better, the Mumu chafer (Stethaspis longicornis)? I suspect breeding them would be very similar to typical scarabs, with the exception that they might need a bit more sand content in the substrate.
When you gain experience you can venture into breeding the beautiful local stag beetles like Geodorcus helmsi or the Australian Rhyssonotus nebulosus that is now well-established in NZ.

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