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Stag Beetle Conservation, with Notes on Keeping Large Beetles

Hercules BeetleBeetle-keeping is a small but expanding hobby here in the USA, but is amazingly popular in Japan, where beetle larvae are even sold in vending machines (I experienced this first-hand, and can say they survive the ordeal quite well!).  Beetles are classified in the order Coleoptera, which exceeds all other animal orders in species diversity, and they play a vital role most ecosystems.  Beetle conservation, however, is in its infancy, so I was very pleased to learn of new efforts on behalf of the UK’s largest species, the European Stag Beetle, Lucanus servus.

Elusive Quarry

The European Stag Beetle (please see photo) is likely in sharp decline, but no one knows why.  They are very hard to study…adults do not feed and so cannot be lured to traps, and digging for buried larvae often kills them and destroys their habitat. Read More »

Something New for Insect-keepers – Sunburst and Green Diving Beetles – Part 1

Sunburst Diving BeetleI cannot imagine why aquatic insects have not attracted more interest from invertebrate enthusiasts.  Thousands of species, many of which are large and active by day, may be kept in relatively simple aquariums.  Aquatic insect exhibits that I have established in zoos and museums are invariably very popular with visitors.  From Dragonfly Larvae that flick out extendable “lips” to snare prey to Giant Water Bugs that can tackle small turtles, these other-worldly beings are fascinating to observe, and most are simple to collect.  Today I’d like to cover the natural history of 2 species that are sometimes available in the pet trade, the Sunburst or Marbled Diving Beetle (Thermonectes marmoratus) and Green Diving Beetle (Thermonectes sp.). I’ll discuss their captive care in Part 2. Read More »

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