Redojiimu, our hercules beetle, died last week. Sidra was playing with his friends when he noticed that Redojiimu hadn’t moved for sometime. Although he knew that Redojiimu wouldn’t live long once he turned into a beetle, Sidra was hoping that Redojiimu would stay with us at least until autumn, so he was sad. We were very sad too.
Redojiimu came to our house as a tiny little larvae when Sidra was still in first grade. He’s now in third grade. Two years might be a short time for us adults, but for kids at Sidra’s age, two years is quite a long time. Two years of caring the larvae and watched him turned into a giant beetle, and even to see him died at the end. On Redojiimu’s tombstone, Sidra wrote: 今まで ずーとずーと ありがとうございました – ima made zuuto zuuto arigatou gozaimashita (loosely translated: thank you for being with us for a long long time).
When Sidra was in kindergarten, we found a little bird who fell off its nest. We’ve tried to give him water and food but the little bird died the next day. Sidra cried his heart out at the time. I took Sidra to the river to say goodbye to the bird. We put the bird on a big leaf and watch him drifting away while saying thank you. We had similar burial ceremony when his fishes or other beetles died. I think it is good that he has the chance to say thank you to them.
Sidra didn’t cry anymore when Redojiimu died, He is big enough now to understand that everything will die at the end. We believe that Redojiimu’s atoms will disintegrate and become something else. And maybe one of those tiny atom will come back to our house someday.
Last weekend we went to the woods nearby to bury Redojiimu.
It’s time to say goodbye.
One last look.
Sidra wrote: ima made zuuto zuuto arigatou gozaimashita (loosely translated: thank you for being with us for a long long time)
There were some crackling sound from inside our larva box when we woke up this morning. My husband peeked inside the box and found this huge beetle! After two years of waiting, our larva has emerged as a huge Hercules beetle last night!
I completely missed his pupa stage, which is in between the larva and imago (last stage development of an insect). In Pupa stage, he would stop eating and silently begin the metamorphosis process. This is the most delicate stage, so maybe it was a good thing that we didn’t disturb him at that time. The tip of the horn is a little bent, maybe because of his position during pupa stage. But he is huge! I haven’t measured him properly, but it seems that he’s more than 15 cm in length.
He eats beetle jellies
We asked Sidra to gave him a name and he said the beetle will be called ‘Redojiimu‘ (Red Jim). Red Jim? We asked him why? Sidra said, “No reason.” Oh, okay.
After Sidra and my husband left for school and office, I tried to take some pictures of Redojiimu. I put him on my palm so I could use the other hand to operate the camera, but he ran towards my arm! He then bit me when I tried to take him off. Don’t worry, his mouth is underneath those gigantic scissor-like thing, so it was only a bit warm and not painful at all. This beetle has serrated claws on the ends of his legs so they cling to my arm. It took some time to take him off and now my arm is full of tiny red marks.
Anyway, if you ever got the chance to have one of this thing clinging to your skin or clothing, don’t pull it off. It will just make him tighten its grip and you might hurt the beetle by pulling him off. Just pat gently on his back rear and he will move.
If you remember my first post about him, we bought him when he was just a tiny little larva in August, 2009. So it took almost two years for him to fully develop and got ready before transforming into a beetle. I feel happy and sad at the same time. After reaching adult stage, a beetle has only a few months left to live. A beetle spent most of his life underground eating and eating for several years. Then one spring, he transform and emerge as a beetle. This is actually the last stage of his life and he only eats very little. Then he will die before winter.
Sidra just found out that Redojiimu will die this year, he was very upset about it. But this is the life cycle of a beetle and we had the chance to experience it by ourselves. We saw him as a tiny little larva and now he’s a giant beetle. Transforming into a beetle is not the beginning of a journey, it is a journey about to end.
When I think about it, it does make sense. That is why we never see beetles in winter because they all have died. Life is a funny thing.
Sorry if you don’t like our cute pet! It’s time to change the soil again for our Colombian Hercules larva. Today was such a shiny day, it was nice because the larva wouldn’t get exposed too long to the cold autumn weather.
Hercules beetle larva: November 20, 2010
We keep the larva in a big plastic case filled with special soil that contains food for the larva. It would then eat the soil until the case is about half-full or less, and then we change the soil with new one. It’s the 4th soil change already, the last one was about 4 months ago. The larva hasn’t grow much bigger since the last time we saw it. I don’t think it can grow any bigger than this, though. We hope next year it will start to metamorphose into a giant beetle!
Go to my flickr set for more pictures! (if you want to, of course)
Colombian Hercules beetle larva, age: almost one year
This morning, the three of us woke up in excitement because today was the soil change day for our larva! It can only be done every 3-4 months, so this occasion is something that we are always waiting for. It has been almost a year since we bought the larva, and today is the third soil change.
The larva is growing slower now, the size is just a little bit bigger than the last time (March 2010), but the body is a lot firmer. It also moved a lot when I held it, and when I put him on Sidra’s hand, it bit Sidra’s hand! I took it from Sidra’s hand and it bit my palm too! The larva has a pair of little mandibles that are used for digging the soil. I guess he was trying to ‘dig’ on Sidra’s and my hand. It was just a little pinch though, no serious damage has done.
My husband still refused to touch the larva, he said that he couldn’t touch it because he was busy taking pictures. Owkay. But I know that deep down his heart, he loves the larva too.
More action pictures in my flickr set!
Sidra: It bites!
I love my larva and my larva loves me too (I hope)
//Song credit: Be Gentle with Me by The Boy Least Likely To//
You know, we actually have pet in the house, although I rarely talked about it. But we’ve almost never seen it around because it is living in a plastic box buried under a heap of soil. In fact, it hardly can be called a pet at all, because we can’t, you know, pet it or play with it. The only thing we can do is watching it while it’s growing.
Anyway, meet our pet: a Colombian Hercules beetle larva! Sidra calls it ‘Herakuresu’, which is simply how the word ‘Hercules’ said in Japanese. He’s crazy about all these kabuto (rhino beetle) and kuwagata (stag beetle), so my husband and I finally agreed to have one.
It was bought last August in a beetle store in Shibuya, the store owner said that the larva was *maybe* a male. He showed me how to differentiate the male from female by looking at some spot on its tiny belly. Although he said that there was a certain thing to see there, I have to admit that I couldn’t see anything. So I hope this larva would really turn out to be a male. Because male Hercules beetle will have this most impressive long horn. It is said that an adult Hercules beetle can reach more than 15 cm in length. A 15 cm length crawling insect! How cool is that!
Aug 31, 2009
The larva is a pretty low maintenance animal. A container is filled with some special soil and then the larva is put there. It will consume the soil for about 3-4 months until the soil is changed to new one. This should continue for several month, and sometimes years. Then one day the larva will suddenly decide that the time has come to begin a metamorphosis process, it will stop moving and eating for a certain time, and then emerges as a cool, menacing-looking beetle.
While it’s living buried in soil, sometimes a glimpse of the larva can be seen when it stays near the side of the container. The three of us often take a peek together and comment on how it has grown so big or how it moves around etc. My husband is not an ‘insect person’, but he’s grown to love this larva. Although he still doesn’t want to tough this wriggly thing, he would check the temperature and humidity of the soil before he goes to bed and adjusts the lamp or sprays some water when necessary.
Because the soil is only changed every a few months, the occasion is something that we wait for excitedly. I would dig the larva and pick it out, then all of us would scream at the sight of the larva and how big it has became! So far, we’ve done it twice. I hope the larva will turn into a beetle this year, although I will miss this fat wriggly thing.
In case you like wriggly things, there’s more pictures of this Herakuresu in my flickr set.