It is obviously up to you what to buy. You need to follow your interests, decide what you particularly like and move on from there. What we are doing in this article is a bit of gentle advice on where to start and what to expect.
1. Adults are great.
It is not only really their complex shapes that are like something out of an Alien film and superhuman strength that attracts people to keeping these wonderfull animals but they also have great temperments and no logner have their sharp mouth parts which they have during their larvae phase making them easy to handle. With some species it can take over a year of rearing larvae to get to an adult beetle so some people prefer simply to buy the adults or are intrested in breeding their own larave. depending on the species adults life span can range from a few months to 1.5 years and then they die.
2. Larvae initially look quite daunting.
But they are actually very easy to care for, you can watch them grow and finally change (metamorphosise) into adults. (beware some larvae have sharp jaws which are lost upon becoing a adult to help the eat the decaying wood in the substrate so if provoked they could give you a nasty pinch).
In practice most hobbyists start with an adult (male) but usually this develops into a breeding pair and then some larvae. As we said it is all up to you. It might be obvious but adults are more expensive than larvae as we have had to look after them for some time.
Food is easy for both larvae and adults (jelly for adults and a decayed hardwood/leaves diet for larvae). You will also need bedding material and containers - see separate articles on the site for help - or ask me if you need specific advice.
4.Make it simple
For beginners we have tried to make things simple by creating a series of kits. Each kit contains everything you need for keeping larvae or adults - except the animals themselves. We have kept the animal out of the kit so that you can pick the species you like rather than take what we pick.