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During a pit stop on the road from North Carolina to New York (somewhere in Delaware) I found the following (dead) insect in the car park:

enter image description here

As you can see from the quarter next to it (25 mm diameter) it is rather large - maybe six centimeters, including the "horns".

What was it?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Looks like it must be a male Dynastes tityus (Linnaeus, 1763).

There are photos for comparison, and a full description with maps and some interesting notes on habitat and behavior, on the University of Nebraska State Museum Generic Guide to New World Scarab Beetles

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FWIW, my searchpath on this was 1) "huh, that looks like a scarab", 2) google image search for scarabaeidae+delaware –  Oreotrephes Aug 22 at 0:52
    
Looks like you are exactly right. Thanks a lot for your "searchpath" information as well. –  Floris Aug 22 at 1:03
    
Thanks for posting the lovely photo! The scale is a nice touch, too. –  Oreotrephes Aug 22 at 1:05
    
It was an iPhone 5, and the light was fading. I was quite surprised just how good it came out... you can see my reflection in the carapace (do you use that word for beetles?). I am a physicist, not a biologist - I would never think of taking a picture like this without some way to determine the size... –  Floris Aug 22 at 1:47
    
Having learnt the correct name, I googled some more. The common name is Eastern Hercules Beetle, it can grow up to 60 mm in length (so this was a big one), and it is "among the largest and heaviest beetles in the US". It even made it onto a US postage stamp in 1999 –  Floris Aug 22 at 2:50

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