This medium stag is a bright red brown color and males can measure up to 50 mm. Adults live for up to 4 months and will eat foods such as banana slices, grape halves, and watered down real maple syrup. Females lay eggs in holes that they excavate in wood and the larvae can take as little as one year if fed different kinds of rotten hardwood.
Western Stag Beetle
P. mazama is one of our largest stag beetles (Family Lucanidae) although it does not get quite as big as the other two species listed here. It is found throughout the south-central to southwestern US. Adults also feed on sugary substances in captivity. Adults live two to four months.
Definitely the most impressive of the 27 U.S. stag species. This monster can measure up to 3 inches (75 mm) including the mandibles. Females, however are small and unimpressive and use their short jaws to carve out rotten wood which they compact over their eggs. Rearing info on L. elephus.
Grant's Rhinoceros Beetle
This is the largest US rhino with large wild caught specimens coming in at 65-75mm and a record specimen at 85 mm. However, many wild males are small, only around 35-45 mm. If the larvae are fed a variety of foods including rotten hardwood, composted manure, and rotten leaves (plus the occasional piece of dry dog food), adult males raised are always over 60 mm. Rearing info on D. granti.
Eastern Hercules Beetle
The color of this beautiful monster can range from army green to bright yellow. Like D. granti the adults love banana and watered-down, real maple syrup, but will also accept pear, grape, apple, watermelon, etc. If properly fed, adults rival D. granti in size but not length due to the different horn structure. The male pictured is an exceptional, captive-bred specimen. Rearing info on D. tityus.
This small rhino looks similar to the different foreign Oryctes species and is kept similar to the Dynastes.
This tough critter is the strangest of the rhinoceros beetles because the normal looking larvae vibrate like an electric razor when held. Also the adults live 2 years or more (most other rhinoceros beetles live only 2-6 months). The grubs eat rotten wood and dead leaves. The adults eat other insects. The adults will drink from bananas but need live food.
Megasoma punctulatus is the second rarest of the three U.S. species of Megasoma. A small dead male like the one pictured goes for about $150 (retail). They are a very neat active beetle which are not too difficult to raise but take 2-3 years to become adults. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to find living M. punctulatus. Rearing info on M. punctulatus.
Although much larger (55 mm) than S. anteus, this three horned rhino is not much more impressive because the horns, in proportion, are never as big as S. anteus. This Dynastid is very active and is one of the few rhinoceros beetles that will fly during the day. Adults usually live 4-5 months but can live over a year! Also, although closely related to the ox beetle it is raised like Dynastes.
|Strategus anteus Ox
S. anteus are native to most of the U.S. but are usually uncommon. However in some areas in Florida large colonies covering a few blocks are found. The larvae actually attack lawns and eats the roots. The feeding does little damage but the adults love to dig up the ground. Rearing info on S. anteus.
|Cotinis texana Fig
Fig beetles are one of the few day active large beetles. They are such good fliers that sometimes they will stay aloft for over a minute inside a ten gallon (40 liter) aquarium despite their 2+inches (50 mm+) wingspan. Adults eat soft fruits while larvae are kept well on compost manure, rotten wood, and cracked corn (unable to chew whole kernels). Despite popular belief larvae starve to death if fed plant/tree roots. Rearing info on C. texana.
|Cotinis nitida Green
C. nitida are very similar to the above but are smaller, have slightly different elytral markings and yellow femurs. Larvae take a little longer than C. texana to mature (up to a year) but pupae are not as susceptible dying from high moisture.
Difficult to see in a picture is the velvety appearance and feel of the black coloring. Equivalent in size to Cotinis although the beauty of this animal is more than equivalent. Larvae feed on rotten wood and dead leaves and can be found in tree holes in nature.
Euphoria fulgida is an energetic and colorful Euphoria species. Adults are half an inch or so. Females will lay eggs in crushed leaf substrate and the resulting larvae grow quickly. As with other flower beetles the adults fly well and feed on sugary liquids.
Euphoria rufina is one of the numerous smaller species of flower beetles which are actually found feeding in flowers. The most interesting and impressive trait of this beetle is the fact that the entire life cycle, from egg to adult, can be completed in under three months.
Hermits are robust medium-sized scarabs with very strange sculpturing on the pronotum which varies much by size and individual. Rearing is the same as for Dynastes. In the wild hermits life-cycle is 2 years but after a few generations captive breeding the time from egg to adult is only 6-7 months. Rearing info on O. eremicola.
Many of the Plusiotis, including P. gloriosa, were originally Described as species of Pelidnota. Similar in rearing to Plusiotis but of note is the fact that live specimens can be incredibly beautiful but lose almost all color after death.
Numerous authors have called this the most beautiful beetle in the U.S.; metallic gold stripes and hologram green colors support this statement. P. gloriosa is also the most common Plusiotus sp. in the U.S. P. gloriosa eat only juniper leaves in the wild but in captivity accept pear slices and seem to accept not other fruits. Larvae grow well on a diet of well-rotted hardwood. Most races can take less than a year to raise to adults.
Similar rearing to P. gloriosa but adults also feed on oak leaves. Ova take over a month to hatch and the larvae like the beetles are twice the size of P. gloriosa. P. beyeri is the neatest of all U.S. flower beetles with its larger size, satiny green body, and bright purple legs. This species also usually becomes an adult in less than 1 year from ova being laid. Rearing info on P. beyeri.
The rarest of the four U.S. Plusiotus species, this critter has a hairy metallic bronze underside and a thin bronze margin around the pronotum and elytra. As with the other US Plusiotus species, larvae do best on a diet of rotten wood alone. Adults feed on Juniper and live short lives.
These great medium Ruteline scarabs are active little beetles that like P. gloriosa feed on Juniper. Adults females, as with other Ruteline species will lay eggs in crushed rotten wood but larvae may be better suited to living in sandy soil and feeding on dead leaves and stems in the ground.
|Cotalpa lanigera Goldsmith
The Goldsmith beetle is one of the larger Ruteline scarabs and can be found throughout the Eastern US. The pronotum, head, and legs of the Goldsmith are a metallic shagreened gold which unfortunately doesn't photograph well. Larvae feed inside of rotten logs. Adults feed on the foliage of some trees including Poplar.
C. consobrina is another example of the beautiful metallic scarabs: the Tribe Rutelini. Although difficult to see in the photo, the tarsi are metallic blue. Eggs are deposited in rotten wood and hatch after a few weeks. This species is found in Arizona.
|Polyphylla sp. Lined
There are numerous Polyphylla and closely related genera in the U.S. but only a few at most are as colorfully marked as this creature. This is also a giant among the June Beetles and can measure as much as 40mm max. Nearly all beetles require specific substrate for egg laying but this crazy beetle will actually lay it's eggs right on the bare-bottom of a container! Of course the eggs won't survive there for long.
Desert Skunk Beetle
E. suturalis is a close relative of the common Yellow Mealworm used for fishing and feeding pets worldwide. However, the Desert Skunk beetle is gigantic; around 30 times the mass of an adult Yellow Mealworm. These durable creatures live years as adults with record male individuals surviving over ten (in contrast mealworm adults seldom survive more than six months). The young are easy to keep but do not survive the dry environment offered feeder mealworms. The larvae are, of course, much larger than normal mealworms but are the same color and shape. There are about 1200 other described Tenebrionidae in the US alone.
Cactus beetles are strange looking longhorn beetles which only feed in adult and larval stage on a few species of cactus. Adults live as much as a year but more often only 5-6 months. Rearing info on M. armata.
This is the largest of the U.S. Phasmids with the females often being over (150 mm) 6 inches! Males have enlarged middle and back legs with a spine near the apex of the femur which they use to stab rival males. Males are beautiful with a glossy forest green stripe down the back, numerous tan markings, and red-brown under the femurs and on the head. Females are not usually as colorful but I saw a very incredible purple female once. In captivity the species happily accepts rose leaves, willow, bramble, oak, etc.. Rearing info on M. dentricus.
Anyone who thinks that stick insects are defenseless creatures will be quite sorry if they play with one of these. These striped sticks shoot out an incredibly noxious fluid up to a few feet. The liquid is said to cause temporary blindness, although I have never gotten any in my eyes yet, I know from experience that fumes of the liquid will make your eyes water. Rearing info on A. ferrunginea.
There are four main differences between this species and the one above. First, A. buprestoides ova are oval while A. ferruginea ova are the shape of a log with two flat ends. Head size in comparison to the body is much smaller in A. ferruginea. Finally, A. buprestoides is about 20% larger and the striping is mottled not solid. Both species take the same care and food and both squirt the noxious defensive fluid.
Northern Walking Stick
This is by far the most common of the U.S. walking sticks and most anyone who has seen a stick as child was looking at this species. Although very small and delicate looking, this is actually a pretty tough little critter and will feed on the leaves of rose, apple, viburnum, raspberry, etc. This stick is often misidentified by overzealous hobbyists as M. dentricus which is not very odd because other than color and size there are no easily definable physical differences. Eggs of D. femorata are shiny and M. dentricus ova are dull and about 10 times the mass. Female photo.
The slender walkingstick spends much of its time among low growing bushes and weeds and is seldom found more than a few feet above the ground; many other sticks spend most of the time high in the trees. In the wild the M. tenuescens feeds on numerous weeds, bushes, and vines which includes thistles, grape vine, blackberry, crab apple, and other plants. The genus Manomera is distinguished from other US genera because the head is much longer than wide and is not found in the Southwest.
Although a Pentatomid bug and not a Reduviid, these extremely colorful bugs assassinate nearly any bug they can get near. Nymphs and adults feed in groups and do not mind jumping on prey as much as a hundred times their mass. When fed massive amounts of food, maturity is reached in sixty days from the eggs hatching. Hatching takes an additional month. Unlike the true assassins which have very painful and sometimes dangerous bites, this bug can not bite people.
This may be the neatest of the Reduviids from the US. These Bark assassins are brightly colored and average an inch long (23-25mm). Adult may live up to a few years. They hide under bark by day and feed on many insects including crickets, cockroaches, and beetles by night. The bite, as with most Reduviids is very painful.
|Arilus cristatus Wheel
A vicious hunter that kills any insect in sight, this is our largest assassin bug (40 mm). Strangely enough, the one insect they do not usually kill is each other and they can be kept in numbers in a cage. The eggs are laid in clusters on twigs and reeds and adults may wait as much as six months to start laying.
|Abedus herberti Giant
The adults of this species measure in at 40mm and unlike the larger Lethocerus sp. are easy to rear. Females simply lay a mat of eggs on the males back and he works hard to make certain all the eggs are cared for and hatch about 18 days later (at 75F). These giant water bugs have a lot of personality and speed and are fun to watch as they catch their prey whether it is a tadpole, snail, cricket, salamander, ghost shrimp, or something bigger. Rearing info on Abedus herberti.
|Ranatra sp. Water
Somehow the person who gave the common name to this bizarre looking, stick-like bug thought that the very long and thin "tail" looked like that of a scorpion's. Of course the "tail" is actually breathing apparatus and cannot give a sting, however, the tiny needle mouth can give a bite as painful as many scorpions. Favored foods include small fish and drowning insects.
|Thasus acutangulus Giant
Measuring often over 50mm, this is the most impressive U.S. Hemipteran. Yellow-veined brown hemelytra, red disks in the middle of each antennae, spines off the sides of the abdomen, red markings on the legs, and enlarged and spined back legs on the male make this a formidable creature. Surprisingly, this wicked looking animal is content to suck sap from mesquite plants and five or six adults can feed from tiny plants (less than 6 inches- 150mm) without appearing to cause any damage. Photo of nymph click here.
This neat hemipteran can measure as much as 40mm in body length and can live for over a year. Eggs of this critter can actually hatch in 7-8 days! Not too much waiting there. Eggs are shiny gold and soon develop red marks. Nymphs are much more flamboyant and colorful than the adults but the adults are very good at flying and can get away in a hurry.
Red-shouldered bugs are not very big with a maximum length of five-eigths of an inch. However, the nymphs and adults can be very pretty and they are easy to care for. The adult in the photo is a stlatey blue-gray with red eyes and red markings on the underside. Eggs hatch after three weeks and produce tiny, all-red babies. Nymphs and adults, feed on shelled pumpkin and sunflower seeds plus cracked corn.
|Romalea microptera Southeastern
A very beautiful creature which is usually covered in shiny black armor and yellow spots and stripes. Adults will eat carrots, many types of leaves, dog food, seeds, and probably many other things. Ventilation (screen type lid) is very important or nymphs and adults "mysteriously" die. Egg pods should be kept slightly cool for a few months or the eggs may take forever to hatch. Rearing info on R. microptera.
Horse Lubber Grasshopper
Horse lubbers are found from the Southwest down to Central America. T. eques can often be found feeding on dead insects squished on the road. The huge adults are slow moving and docile. These lubbers are cannibalistic and eventually there will only be one or two left if they are kept together in a cage.
Obscure Bird Grasshopper
Although only the size of a very very tiny bird these energetic creature live up to their name in being very good flyers and can take off straight up out of their cage. Adults are almost neurotic and will make tons of noise when the cage is moved as they jump strongly into the sides and top. Plants such as oak, rose, blackberry, etc. and many fruits and vegetables are fed upon by nymphs and adults.
The Rainbow grasshopper is as colorful as it's name. Adults range from three quarters to nearly an inch and a half long. The nymphs and adults feed readily on rose and other leaves, dog food, and other grasshoppers. This beautiful flightless grasshopper is docile and seldom jumps around.
In the US there are ten or so species of Jerusalem crickets of which S. fuscus is the most common. S. fuscus is the only species (other than S. longispina which is similar but has really long spines on the inner hind tibia) with no markings on the head. Jerusalem crickets are in the subfamily Stenopelmatinae. In other countries members of this subfamily are called "Wetas" or "King Crickets". These strange animals are very common in areas of the Southwest but are seldom seen -- except when they wander indoors in the spring-- because they are nocturnal. Jerusalem crickets feed on other insects and some vegetable matter.
|Neobarettia spinosa Spiny
This carnivorous little alien has the strangest defensive display of any insect; it shakes and ruffles small psychedelic wings in a circle behind its head. The very strong jaws of this creature are used to eat nearly any other insect or arthropod and they do not do well in a social setting (unless you call eating all their relatives "well"). Despite their great weight they are able to jump over a meter (3 feet).
|Pediodectes haldemani American
This very large and aggressive katydid refuses to eat leaves but is more than happy to munch away on other insects in the wild. They actually enjoy dry dog food in captivity the most. Females lay large eggs a few inches deep in the soil to keep them from drying out. These bulky critters may be fun to handle but if you grab onto them they are capable of giving a very nasty bite.
The Carolina Mantis can be found throughout much of the US. It is cryptic and seldom seen. Females have short wings which can be green, tan or splotched in black and white. Males are fully winged and fly well. Oothecae are elongated and often glued to surfaces near the ground.
This is a somewhat colorful stick-mantis from much of the Southern US. It is difficult to come by, but may be quite common and just hard to see and find. Although it is very delicate the Brunner's Mantis is not too difficult to keep because you only need to rear just one. No males are known because females reproduce through parthenogenesis! Also of note: oothecae can take as long as 4 months from the first to the last nymph hatching. For most mantids, this period lasts only a few hours.
The Chinese Mantis is the largest of the US mantids. The bulky adults are often over four inches long. T. aridifolia was introduced in the late 1800's from Asia. Egg cases are often purchased by gardeners and farmers and released to feed upon unwanted pests. The most commonly used mantid for pest control and so found in every state. The oothecae, also, are huge and can be the size of a golf ball.
|Pseudovates arizonae adult
female Arizona Unicorn Mantis
This is my favorite mantis. P. arizonae is very difficult to find in the wild but not too difficult to rear. The nymphs are hardy and only somewhat cannibalistic. The brown and white striping is far from cryptic in captivity. Adults have the same coloration as nymphs but have bright green tegmina with a few large brown spots.
The European Mantis may be the most widespread mantis in the world and is found in North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Like the Chinese mantis, M. religiosa was originally introduced in the late 1800's for pest control and is still used from time to time by gardeners (the Chinese mantid is used most often). Adults are bright green and are the mantids which supposedly inspired the common name for this Order.
The regal moth is one of the most beautiful of all moths and is huge with a wingspan of up to nearly six inches. The monstrous black horned caterpillar of this moth has earned it's own separate name, the "Hickory Horned Devil". Adult moths only live a few days to a week and do not feed. Larvae eat hickory, ask, sumac, walnut, and sweetgum.
The Imperial moth is closely related to the Regal and is nearly as beautiful and can be just as big (150mm wingspan). The caterpillars dig into the soil at the end of their growth and make loose cocoons in holes under the dirt. After the rains in spring the huge adults emerge from under the ground. Adults do not feed. Caterpillars feed heavily on many types of bushes and trees and even feed on pine needles.
|Samia cynthia Cynthia
The Cynthia moth has only been "native" to the US since the 1800's when it was introduced from China as a possible alternative to the domesticated silk moth. S. cynthia is usually only found where the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus) is growing. Caterpillars will also feed on staghorn sumac, willow, and others but will not grow as big or as quickly. Adults do not feed and seldom live over seven days. Rearing info on S. cynthia.
|Actias luna Luna
The Luna moth is often the adult form of the really massive green caterpillar everyone finds from time to time. Adults are seen in early summer on the sides of buildings and often around porch lights. Although a million times harder to find than mosquitoes the Luna moth is a common and exotic looking species reared throughout the US and the world. Adults mate easily and caterpillars feed on numerous trees.
The huge eyespots on the hind wings evoked the describer of this species to name it after the one-eyed monster of Greek Mythology. The Polyphemus moth is another of the incredibly huge and beautiful silk moths from the US. A large adult can have a wingspan just over four inches. Caterpillars are a beautiful translucent bright green with a few yellow markings and reddish spiracles. Adults do not feed. Larvae feed voraciously on Birch, Hickory, Maple, Sycamore, and a number of other native hardwood leaves.
Elytra and Antenna
Rhinoceros Beetles of the World.
Insect message board; contact other insect crazies.
Many, many roaches and photos. 20 different species.