My youngest son loves all things living. I post frequently on Instagram showing him holding something that lives and breathes. This week it has been a handful of Hercules beetles.
I must say, the Hercules beetle finds have easily been the absolute coolest creatures we have ever found. We have found a total of three in the past week.
The first one we found was a female. At first we thought she must have been newly emerged from the ground because she was caked in mud. But as it would turn out, she was elderly and we apparently found her in her final hours. I’ll share more about that in a little bit. The boy named her Elizabeth.
Then we found a young male. When we found him, we had assumed that he lost the mating wars and did not win the heart of the female. Several things led us to believe this. One, he was about half the size of the female. Second, we found him stuck on his back near where the female had been. And third, we could not find the female once this young male arrived, leading us to believe that another male had won her heart and they eloped. The boy named him Hercules. He was also excited that Elizabeth found a husband.
Then we found Elizabeth again. And then Hercules found Elizabeth, if you know what I mean. Elizabeth wanted nothing to do with Hercules. She fought to keep her distance from him. Eventually, we separated them and left them alone for the rest of the day.
The next day, we found Elizabeth again. But she had given up the ghost and departed from this world. My son, though absolutely certain it could not be Elizabeth, was heart-broken. He mourned her loss and carried her around for a while. Even though he was in denial about it being Elizabeth, I think he knew it was her. He was upset. He also prayed for her. Later he prayed for her again, though his prayer had shifted to a spirit of thankfulness that God had given him the opportunity to watch her and also left her where she could be found. He has preserved Elizabeth in his prized and ever-growing specimen collection. She is his most prized specimen.
Hercules was no where to be found. But then George showed up. George was twice as big as Hercules, and quite impressive with his armor and battle scars. This leads us to believe that our original thought was correct, that Hercules lost to a bigger male. George was comparable in size to Elizabeth.
The boy takes his specimen collection serious. He has quite the impressive collection going of things he has found that he will occasionally put under a microscope. He can often be found drawing and writing about his specimens. Almost weekly the boy has picked out a new hard cover sketch pad or notebook that he wants. Here are some pictures of his collection.
If you want an idea of what kind of spirit this boy has, look and see:
He’s holding a chicken and a dragonfly. I guess there’s a possibility that he just gets that honest from me:
And, there’s a slight chance that I got it honest from my mom:
These are her butterflies that she caught and preserved. FORTY YEARS AGO!
Stick around, we have lots more critter stories to share. Cicadas, hornworms, wasps, click beetles, ants, bumblebees, jumping spiders, and orb weavers. Not to mention the snakes, frogs, toads, turtles, oh, and don’t forget the deer, bear, coyote, and hawks.
Thanks for stopping by tonight! I’m planning on sharing about the rest of the animals that live at One Twenty Two tomorrow.