Posts Tagged ‘scarabs’

A male western hercules beetle, Arizona.

Meet Dynastes granti. This behemouth of an insect is North America’s heaviest scarab beetle, found in the mountains of the American southwest where adults feed on the sap of ash trees. I photographed these spectacular insects a few years ago while living in Tucson.

The impressive pronotal horn on the beetle pictured above indicates a male; females are considerably more modest in their armaments:

Male and female hercules beetles

As is so often the case in animals, males use their horns to fight each other for access to females, attempting to pry their opponents off the branches.  Size is important, and it varies notably among individuals depending on how well they fed as developing larvae:

Size variation among male hercules beetles. My money is on the guy on the right.

The three beetles pictured here lived in our house for a while as pets; they were good-natured insects and would sit happily on our fingers eating maple syrup.

Photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D.
ISO 400, f3.0-f5.0, 1/50-1/125 sec, ambient light at dusk

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Chrysina lecontei, Arizona.

Jewel scarabs emerge during Arizona’s summer monsoon, and collectors from around the world descend on the region with their blacklights and mercury vapor lamps to attract the beetles. Chrysina lecontei is the smallest and rarest of the three Arizona species.


Chrysina leconte, Arizona.

photo details (both photos): Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/18, indirect strobe in white box

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Strategus aloeus – Ox Beetles, female (left) and male
Arizona, USA

Impressive pronotal horns mark the male in these sexually dimorphic scarabs. Strategus aloeus is found in the southern United States from Florida to Arizona.

photo details, top photo: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/9, 1/200sec, ISO 100, indirect strobe in a white box
bottom photo:
Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/14, 1/200sec, ISO 200, indirect strobe in a white box

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