The Hercules beetle, Dynastes hercules (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae) is the most thoroughly studied species of Dynastes, and it is also one of the most famous.
This beetle, usually found in the rainforests of Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil, is regarded as the largest in its genus (up to 170 mm), and the strongest creature in the world (able to carry up to 850 times its own weight) .
Hercules beetle is also remarkable because of adults have elytra that contain a thin, spongy layer under the epicuticle. This spongy layer responds to fluctuations in relative humidity and rapidly changes the elytral color from green to black .
Another one of the most fascinating aspects of D. hercules biology are the battles between males for mating access with females. Battles start as a challenge from one male to another. The challenge consists of the aggressor stridulating near the opposing male. The other male can accept or decline the challenge to battle. During the ensuing battle male minors (sneaker males) may mate with the contested female while the larger males are occupied.
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