Hemiphileurus illatus (LeConte, 1854) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae)

Hemiphileurus illatus (LeConte, 1854)
Phileurus illatus LeConte, 1854 (original combination).
Phileurus vitulus LeConte, 1863 (synonym).
Phileurus Phoenicus Casey, 1915 (synonym).
Phileurus puncticollis Casey, 1915 (synonym).
Hemiphileurus illatus mexicanus Endrödi, 1978 (synonym).


Description: 15.9-25.0mm in size, occurring in western US states of southern California to western Texas and western Mexico.

*Pictured specimen is reared male.

Related Species:
1. Phileurus valgus (Olivier, 1789)
2. Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois, 1809)
3. Hemiphileurus illatus (LeConte, 1854)
4. Eophileurus chinensis (Faldermann, 1835)

Ratcliffe, B. C. and R. D. Cave. 2017. The dynastine scarab beetles of the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum 30: 1-298.


Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois, 1809) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae)

Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois, 1809)
Scarabaeus truncatus Palisot de Beauvois, 1806 (original combination).
Phileurus recurvatus Casey, 1915 (synonym).


Collection Sites: Texas: Sabine County: Hemphill

Descriptions: Adults attracted to light. Size is around 28.5-39.3 (Ratcliffe and Cave 2017).

Related Species:
1. Phileurus valgus (Olivier, 1789)
2. Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois, 1809)
3. Hemiphileurus illatus (LeConte, 1854)
4. Eophileurus chinensis (Faldermann, 1835)

Ratcliffe, B. C. and R. D. Cave. 2017. The dynastine scarab beetles of the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum 30: 1-298.

Beetle Substrate

It has been about 5 years since the last time I made fermented substrate for the scarab beetle rearing. As the number of beetle larvae (in captivity) has increased recently, I decided to make some additional (of about 50 L) before the summer goes. Scarab beetle larvae feed on dead plant materials from decayed wood to soil, and in captivity, they can be fed with fermented substrate (sawdust). Such items can easily be acquired from a regular pet store in South Korea (as well as Japan, China, Taiwan, etc.) where they keep insects as common pet animals. However, that’s not the case in the U.S., and I had to make it on my own for the last decade. This is like my 10th or maybe even 20th time making it, and I made more than couple hundreds of liters of substrate. It is not a difficult task, but just a time consuming work (as it can take about a month to three months).


The main material (substrate) I’ll be using is an item that is originally manufactured for BBQ grilling. I’m using this oak wood pellet from Traeger Grills. The Traeger Grills offer various wood pellets and grills, as well as many different items for outdoor grilling and cooking.


When you add warm to hot water to the wood pellets, it dissolves and becomes very fine-particle substrate. This is not what I need as a final product, of course, and now I have to add couple of things to trigger to ferment. I had to dry the substrate at sunlight first for about 5 hours to deter any odor in it, and to easily mix other things. Wood pellets made by pressurizing a pulverized wood powders using a machine (with heat and strong pressure), and while doing that, adhesive-like substances are produced from the wood (naturally) that makes the pellets stay together in its shape (without any other chemical additives, like a glue). To this, I’m adding a pack of dry dog food (as additives) and yeast and beer (as ferment starter). In case of dog food, I ground it to powder beforehand.


I didn’t select a particular dog food. I just grabbed a cheap one from Dollar Tree, and it goes same for yeast (from Walmart).


I mixed up these three items (substrate, dog food, yeast) little by little for easier works. I used up all the dog food, that is about 400 grams and yeast for 118 grams. The amount of additives differs per what you are using. I’m only adding this much of dog food, but it would be better to add 3 to 4 times more for wheat flour. Additives ONLY help the process of fermentation. You must add ferment starter to properly trigger the fermentation. The easy combination is as follows, [substrate (100)] : [wheat flour (10-15)] : [yeast (10-ish)]. I know I didn’t follow this rule, but things can be changed per what you are adding in. The wheat flour helps raising up the heat in fermentation, but a dog food can help it a lot better, so I’m just using small amount of a dog food with small amount of yeast.


Although I’ve already added yeast, I decided to add cans of beer as well to also add some water into it. Beer is fermented product, so it can be used as ferment starter, and it works great (not that I mean you can add all kinds of fermented products like pickles or kimchi). I succeeded all the time even when I only used beer and wheat flour.

Now add some holes for the better ventilation. This fermentation is aerotropic, (with air=aerotropic; without air=anaerobic) so it requires a regular ventilation. Now, lid on, and keep in warm and dark place, with a mixture (for ventilation) every once in 7-10 days. It will start to ferment in couple of days, and it will start to smell like a sweet, pineapple punch juice (in my case), but it just smells bad if failed. If you failed, then simply dry it out completely and try again.

As it starts to ferment, temperature inside the substrate rises up even over 70˚C (158˚F) and kills all the currently existing microorganisms, and starts new cultures (good for larval developments). Depending on amount of substrate, the temperature may or may not rise above the 70˚C. My previous works from 10L to 20L ranged around 50˚C to 70˚C. I’m hoping the temperature this time goes above that previous range. Depending on how much temperature arose, the color of final product may differ. As the temperature rises up, the color gets darker in final product. So the color itself cannot tell you how nutritious it may be.

Updates on August 29th, 2018:


After couple days, hyphae start to spread out on the surface, and this means it is properly started. Hyphae is white, spiderweb-like fungus shown on the images above. Click it to view enlarged images. If you see molds in black, orange, red, and/or green colored, that means it is failed to fermenting, so just dry it out completely and do it again.

Updates on November 19th, 2018:

The fermentation has completed a while ago, but I’m just updating now (November 19th, 2018) to show the difference in color of before and after the fermentation.

Strategus antaeus (Drury) – immature biology

I haven’t had a successful experience with Strategus antaeus (Drury) in captivity. I found couple of males and females, I set them up in a plastic container with substrate (depth of over 6 inches), but no eggs ever found. This year, I looked up a little (a little, because there is no info available anywhere) while collecting and studied the habitat where I collected the series of specimens. Then on one day, I read somewhere that S. antaeus requires sandy soil mixtures with plant materials, like grass roots or dead grass, and such, which gave me an interesting impression because there are some Ruteline and Cetoniine species requiring the same environment.

Set up on 26 May 2018

I found two males and one female on May 12th, 2018 at Natchitoches Parish of Louisiana. My set up was similar to that I explained above the images, except no grass. Having grass sounds too messy, and I don’t like it. Instead, I added some peat moss (moss that you overlay on top of a garden or a flower pot). Moss soaked in water overnight has been squeezed before placing over the soil mixture of 2 : 1 : 1 of sand : substrate :  organic potting mix (here, I used Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix). I didn’t mix the moss with soil on purpose, hoping to see a female grab a piece and burrow. Such plant materials are used by females to protect eggs while laying in underground.

I found two eggs and three L1 larvae today, on August 7th, 2018 (after over 10 weeks). I believe these are quite fresh ones. I don’t know what made the female to decide to just start laying eggs, and not in couple of months ago.


Since it was rather a rare opportunity to find larvae and eggs of Strategus antaeus (Drury), I took some time observing them. An interesting factor of larvae is that they “crawl,” unlike many other dynastine scarab beetles. This kind of crawling can be observed from other scarab groups like Rutelinae or Melolonthinae. If the larvae crawl with its back, then usually, Cetoniinae. I haven’t seen any Dynastine larvae crawl like in the picture, and two dark colored larvae were doing the same thing. White one seems to be a very fresh one, not yet even started to feed. Two eggs found had a slight trace of larvae inside, if you take a closer look (hatched on around August 9-11th). The Size of eggs was quite surprising as they were larger than eggs of Strategus aloeus (Linnaeus) (in naked eyes), which is larger sister species, also occurring in Louisiana. A length of an egg (in the picture below, with scale bar of 2mm) is 4.66 mm long (major axis) and 3.63 mm wide (minor axis).

Insect Korea: A quarterly Journal of Entomology

After about one year of a break, Insect Korea has finally came back with the new issue, #8 on late July 2018. As mentioned in other post, I made a couple of publication through this journal. It is always my pleasure to work with this great journal and the great editorial team!

I published two articles in a single issue #8 this time. First is about my visit to Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) for the research of Genus Strategus Kirby, then the next one is biographical article where I discuss how I became myself of now, relating to an entomology.


The Insect Korea, unfortunately, is currently not accepting any new annual subscription (of four issues), however, you can make a purchase of each issue of 1 to 8 through 충우 or here, and this link is only available for buyers resides in South Korea.

If you can read Korean language, and resides in the United States, then you may be able to make a purchase through Aladin US, a Korean-American online book store. I’m sorry I do not have any other information than for South Korea and U.S. residents, but if you are willing to contact the publisher (to make a direct purchase), I can try help you out. By the way, for your information, most articles are written in Korean.

I haven’t received my hard copy yet, but I’m very excited about their come-back, and the two contents I submitted as well as other articles in there.

Kim, J. 2018. Visiting Louisiana State Arthropod Museum. A quarterly Journal of Entomology, 8, 59-61. ISSN: 2384-3403.

Kim, J. 2018. 사람과 곤충: 김준석 [The Man and the Insect: Junsuk Kim]. A quarterly Journal of Entomology, 8, 2-3. ISSN: 2384-3403.