So last year, I was given some rhinoceros beetles which were supposed to have died come the end of summer. Well, they did, but not before leaving behind a bunch of eggs, which my wife wanted to hatch and take care of. For more details, please read my past posts on this topic (links below, please scroll all the way down).
I'm pleased to announce that we have become the parents of 8 robust males and 4 healthy females. After a long period of sleeping in the dirt, the young, energetic rhinoceros beetles have emerged from the soil which we changed every month or so. It was a lot of work, but it paid off.
Here are some pictures our babies.
BUT WAIT! There's more...
So here I thought, "This is it. After I give away these m*ther f***ers or they die, no more."
Taking care of rhinoceros beetle grubs, changing out their dirt, feeding them their jelly every day is a lot of work! I really was looking forward to getting rid of them all, as much fun as it was watching them grow and emerge from the ground. I really didn't want anymore. My wife and I were actively taking care to separate the males from the females in order to prevent them from reproducing. That's 8 males and only 4 females. But what happened?
My wife started noticing that there was one or two white, round little grubs rubbing up against the plastic walls of one of the tanks.
"This can't be," I told her. "We've been keeping them separate haven't we?"
We've been giving the beetles away in pairs to friends who want them. We already gave away three pairs, which means there should be only 6 more of these creatures left. We thought it would be nice to change out the dirt for these creatures one last time so that they could live out the rest of their lives in clean dirt.
I dump out one of the tanks, and as I sift through the dirt, I came to find out that one of the beetles had died and was consumed by the others; cannibalism is not unheard of amongst rhinoceros, even stag beetles. It was kind of sad and gruesome to find parts of the dead beetle here and there, so now we only have 4 males and a female rhinoceros beetle left.
It was the second and the largest of the tanks which hid a bit of a frightening secret; WE HAVE BECOME PARENTS OF RHINOCEROS BEETLES AGAIN.
As I dumped out the second tank, I was surprised to see a number of grubs roll onto and off the dirt that was proceeding from the tank, like many miniature Sonic the Hedgehogs in super-sonic spins.
I was expecting to see 3 or 4 grubs in the dirt, but how many did we find?
Sift after sift would yield more and more grubs, until finally, when after long last I had finished sifting all the dirt there was, we found a total of 40 grubs.
HOW COULD THIS BE???
4 females, and one by one we removed them from the cases as they emerged. There was one female that didn't really show up until towards the end.
This means that these grubs are the product of either 1 or 2 females!!!
What's going to happen now?
My wife and I have decided to save all the grubs and see if anyone wants them.
We found a large, empty, plastic container, put in some of the new dirt we bought, and we're now using it as a sort of "nursery." There is plenty of space, but even so, grubs are known to eat each other.
I plan to sift through the dirt in another month or so. I wonder how many will survive...
We laid out one layer, and then another...
The tank completely full yet, but we're going to get some more dirt soon, and hopefully not too many will be eaten.
Until the the next rhinoceros beetle update!