FAQs!

Question: Are there any good beetle books you would recommend?

As for good books on rearing beetles, I can recommend two. One is Orin McMonigle’s “The Ultimate Guide to Breeding Beetles”, and the other is a more advanced (and more expensive) “For the love of Rhinoceros and Stag beetles - Third edition” by Jonathan Lai & Ko Hsin-ping. In the UK, the former can be purchased from Waterstones and Pemberley Books, but the latter can be slightly harder to find.

Question: What size container should I keep stag beetle larvae in? How much substrate should I provide?

The amount of substrate/size of container required will be species dependant, as the bigger the species is, the more they will eat and the bigger space they will need.

For example, the L3 larvae of smaller species such as Lamprima adolphinae can be kept singly in containers as small as 250ml in volume (minimum), whereas the larger species I have available such as Prosopocoilus giraffa should be kept in containers much larger at 1500ml in volume (minimum).

Question: How long do stag beetle larvae pupate for? I understand that some species might have different lengths.

Regarding pupation time, the general rule is that the larger the species, the longer they take. Using Lamprima adolphinae and Propocoilus giraffa as examples, the smaller L. adolphinae spends 2-4 weeks as pupa before they eclose, whereas the larger P. giraffa can take 4-8 weeks as pupa before they eclose and turn in an adult beetle.

 

Question: I heard that stag beetle larvae can be cannibalistic. Is this true?

Cannibalism is not common in stag beetle species. Out of the rhino/flower/stag beetle groups, flower beetle larvae are generally the only ones that actively seek out other larvae to prey on and cannibalise (usually seen in the larger species).

The misconception with rhino/stag beetle larvae being cannibalistic comes from few select species that tend to have a more aggressive temperament (usually the larger species), and can nip/bite other larvae they come into contact purely out of self-defence. This more often than not sadly leads to the death of the other larva that got bitten from the injury, which can often mislead novices into thinking that they actively sought out and attacked the other larva for food.

In order to prevent this from happening, larvae should ideally be kept singly in their own containers (also to avoid stressing them out too much from bumping into each other even if they don’t end up biting for self-defence), or if keeping them in their own containers is not possible, then they should be given ample space so that contact gets brought down to a minimum.

 

Question: Can I keep beetles communally?

Regarding your question on if different species can be kept together communally, it all depends on the particular species in question.

With adults, the main thing to consider is seeing whether the species are within the same genus. If they belong to different genera, they can be kept communally. If they do belong to the same genus however, then it is a big no-no. The reasoning behind this is that species within the same genus are often closely related enough for the potential of cross-breeding and hybridisation. In order to keep captive-bred cultures in the hobby pure, hybridisation should be avoided at all costs.

The other thing to consider when attempting to keep adults communally is to see the sizes of the species in question. If they are a small-medium sized species such as Pachnoda and Chlorocala, any number of both sexes can be kept together. However, species where the males possess horns (such as rhino beetles and stag beetles) should be kept individually, even within the same species. This is because horned males tend to be more aggressive in nature, and their aggressiveness combined with the use of their horns can easily injure/kill tankmates. The females of these species are non-horned however so even the large species can be kept communally, much like the small Pachnoda and Chlorocala.

With larvae, the main thing to consider is to check whether the species is cannibalistic or not. Out of the rhino/flower/stag beetle groups, flower beetle larvae are generally the only ones that actively seek out other larvae to prey on and cannibalise (usually seen in the larger species).

Despite the information floating around online that rhino beetle and stag beetle larvae are cannibalistic, this is far from the truth with the majority of the species seen in captivity. The misconception with rhino/stag beetle larvae being cannibalistic comes from few select species that tend to have a more aggressive temperament (usually the larger species), and can nip/bite other larvae they come into contact purely out of self-defence. This more often than not sadly leads to the death of the other larva that got bitten from the injury, which can often mislead novices into thinking that they actively sought out and attacked the other larva for food.

In order to prevent the larvae from getting stressed in general, larvae should ideally be kept singly in their own containers (also to avoid stressing them out too much from bumping into each other even if they don’t end up biting for self-defence), or if keeping them in their own containers is not possible, then they should be given ample space so that contact gets brought down to a minimum.

Question: Can I keep beetles and stick insects (Phasmids) together?

Regarding your question about stick insects, it is possible if there is ample space in the enclosure, but I would advise against it. This is because the Phasmids are relatively a much weaker insect due to their slimmer build and the softness of their exoskeleton in comparison to beetles. Adult beetles can be quite hefty insects, and the power they have combined with their sharp tarsi (claws) can easily damage the bodies of Phasmids if they were to accidentally hook on their bodies/walk on them. Additionally, beetles are very clumsy fliers and if they were to crash into a Phasmid during their most vulnerable stage when they are moulting, they are sure to get dislodged from their moulting perch and pass away. 

All in all, it may be possible to cohabit larger Phasmid species with a much sturdier build such as Heteropteryx dilatata/Haaniella spp./Eucrycantha calcatara, with smaller species of beetles such as Chlorocala spp. if the enclosure has plenty of space, but in most cases, I would not recommend it unless you are certain of what you are doing.

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