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Sun Beetles (Pachnoda marginata peregrina)

Sun Beetles (Pachnoda marginata peregrina)

Sun beetles are one of the most common beetle species kept as pets due to their ease of care and bright colouration. Pachnoda marginata belongs to the subfamily Cetoniinae which includes other subspecies of sun beetles with various markings that live in west and central Africa, often found living in acacia trees. P. marginata peregrina are yellow with a deep red spot on the thorax, followed by a thick red band and one red spot at the end of the elytra and have a black shiny abdomen. Both sexes are monomorphic, meaning males and females look the same, however males have a thin line that runs vertically down the centre of the abdomen. Antennae are club-like, and adults have a good sense of smell which they use to seek out ripe fruit.


Adults can fly but it tends to be very clumsy and often only shown by the males when trying to seek out other females, otherwise these beetles are very docile and can easily be handled. Adult females will burrow into the substrate after mating to lay a single egg, which after a few weeks will hatch into a very small white grub with a brown head, where it spends its time eating and growing up to the size of your pinkie finger! Larvae will form a cocoon around itself made of a combination of chewed up organic material and secretions, and then attach themselves under a piece of bark for protection whilst pupating.


Sun beetles will thrive in a warm, humid vivarium that is tall, has a good layer of quality substrate, and receives bright light, which they use to regulate breeding cycles. Sun beetles tend to gravitate towards light, hence their name, and without it your beetles may not breed as successfully or live their happiest life. We suggest using a glass or plastic terrarium that is minimum 30x30x30cm for 4-5 beetles, with a secure lid, plenty of ventilation, heat lamp or LED light, and at least a 10cm depth of quality substrate (a litre of substrate per larvae is a good rule to follow). Provide plenty of branches, hardy plants or moss, and cork bark for your beetles to climb on and fly off and provide a substrate that contains plenty of rotting wood and leaf litter, as this is the life source for the larvae. 


  • Size: up to 4cm as larvae, 2.5-3cm as adults
  • Lifespan: 6 up to 10 months (2-5 months as larvae)
  • Status: captive bred
  • Place of Origin: West and Central Africa
  • Temperature: 20-28˚C, 25˚C optimal
  • Humidity: 50-80%
  • Diet: larvae eat hardwood leaf litter (oak, beech, hazel etc), rotten hardwood, flake soil, variety of fruit and vegetables (favourites include cucumber, squash, apple, and melon), protein source (shrimp pellets, nutritional yeast, and bee pollen). Adults eat a variety of fruit and veg (favourites being cucumber and melon), leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, and occasional protein sources listed above. Beetle Jelly can also be provided as an optional supplement.
  • We like keeping our beetles in a 40x30x30cm glass aquarium that we have converted into a bio-active vivarium, which has been fitted with a forest floor hardscape consisting of branches, live plants, leaf litter and botanicals and an LED strip light. A glass or plastic tank with around 30cm height and great ventilation would work fine 


  • We keep the temperature between 22-25˚C and find we only need to mist spray once a fortnight as the glass and substrate hold humidity (60-70%) and moisture extremely well, but generally only spray when the top layer of substrate has dried out to avoid soggy conditions. These arent too keen on damp conditions


  • These have a ravenous appetite and are not fussy when it comes to feeding time! We have found that ours particularly love thick slices of cucumber, banana, pear, and strawberries, but will also nibble on fish flakes and dried mealworms. We feed ours once the fruit has completely gone, which is usually 1-2 times per week and protein once a week. Its best to monitor the food and feed accordingly, starting with small amounts and building your way up. We suggest placing the food half off the ground as grubs will pull it down before the adults have had a chance to eat


  • Larvae will also eat these foods on the surface of the substrate but will mainly eat rotting hardwood and leaf litter like oak and beech in the soil and on the surface. It is crucial you provide the grubs with a quality substrate like our Premium Millipede Edible Substrate, or one that has plenty of organic material like leaf mulch and rotting wood. General rule is 1L of substrate per grub and at least 10-15cm substrate depth


  • Our beetles are extremely active and are always seen climbing up and down the hardscape, but they also enjoy spending time basking or ‘sunbathing’ under the light and there are frequent tussles for the best spot! For this reason, we like to use a 12-hour light cycle to promote natural behaviours and successful breeding.



  • We only do the occasional spot clean and substrate refresh when the majority of the substrate is frass, or grub poop! This typically gets a refresh of 70% new substrate mixed with 30% old substrate, once every month or so. This can change between keepers though, so always good to monitor the substrate for how much edible content is left
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