The Hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules) is the largest of the rhinoceros beetles.
Titled after the Greek demigod and son of Zeus, the Hercules beetle is particularly known for its size and strength. Males reach nearly 8 inches in length can carry almost a thousand times their own body weight.
Enormous horn-like pincers protrude from the beetle’s forehead, growing even longer than the male’s body. The horns are used for protection against rival males while mating with the females, who do not have horns but often have larger bodies than the males.
As seen in the video, the Hercules beetle surpasses the size of a human hand. Its flight is similar to that of a helicopter: loud and robust.
Despite cutting an alarming and impressive figure, the omnivore species is highly threatened in the wild. Preyed on by rats, birds and bats living throughout Central and South America, its adult life span lasts between three and five months.
Throughout most of its life, the Hercules beetle larva tunnels through rotting wood. Once the one to two-year larval period ends, it transforms into a pupa after consuming enough plants and fruit.