This is a male specimen of the eastern Hercules beetle (Dynastes tityus), a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the eastern US.
I saw one of these only a handful of times growing up, and I was amazed each time.
I associate them with years when June is rainy, and the plants are fat and green. I think every one of these I have seen turned up the day after a night rain.
If I had any doubts about turning my lawn into an ecological oasis, this guy showing up would have convinced me.
At least half of my time tending the pollinator meadow is spent removing invasive evergreen seedlings: monkey grass (liriope), Japanese privet, wintercreeper, English ivy.
These plants might not feed most insects and other animals, but birds love the seeds and poop them all over creation.
The problem is that these plants displace native species that feed a higher number of species, including caterpillars and other insect larva.
A plant doesn’t have to be rare or endangered to be ecologically valuable.
Continue reading “Biodiversity and Ecological Value”