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Cannibalistic DHH larvae?


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Hi, apologies if this is the wrong section to discuss this in.

I am a beginner beetle owner and have 4 L1 Dynastes Hercules Hercules larvae which I initially began growing inside a box with 1.6L volume. Two of them are now L2. I would check on them occasionally just by lifting the box up, looking at the underside and seeing if they would wriggle about. For the past couple of weeks I only noticed 3 of them on the bottom. I assumed that the 4th was just somewhere else in the substrate, where I couldn't see them, but I recently got them all out to check on them and there were only 3 larvae in the box!

I tried to wrap my head around what happened. I don't believe the larvae would have opened the box and escaped as the lid closes on a latch. It's also highly unlikely that I misplaced one because I rarely get the larvae out of their box and always make sure I put them back when I do. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the other larvae cannibalised the 4th one? I'm not too familiar with much literature around cannibalism in beetle larvae but I always thought that was a trait limited to stag beetles. Does anyone have any experience of this happening in rhino beetle larvae?

For now I've moved the remaining 3 larvae into a much bigger box (9L volume) so if crowding was an issue, it shouldn't cause problems anymore. I'm still very confused about the whole situation so if anyone could shed some light on what might have happened here it would be much appreciated!

Edited by moomin
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