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Rhinoceros beetle

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Rhinoceros beetle
Rhinoceros Beetle.jpg
Scientific Classification
Image Description
Rhinoceros Beetle 23.jpg

The Rhinoceros beetle is a beetle belonging to the taxonomic subfamily Dynastinae. They are best known for their large cranial horn from which they get their name and for their incredible strength. They able to carry up to 850 times their own weight making it the strongest land animal in relation to its size.[1]

There are over 300 different species of Rhinoceros beetles. They don't harm humans because they are not able to bite or sting. Unlike the males the females have no horns and are rarely seen and are quite dull.[2] The Rhinoceros beetle is known by other names such as Hercules Beetle, Unicorn Beetle, and Horn Beetle.[3] The Rhinoceros Beetle is nocturnal which helps it avoid predators. Its large size also helps get rid of predators. During the day the Rhinoceros beetle stays out of sight. They hide under logs and in vegetation.[4] To scare off predators the Rhinoceros Beetle uses its large size and fearsome appearance and also hisses at them. The hissing of the Rhinoceros beetle is created when the beetle rubs the abdomen against the end of the wing covers.[5] The lifespan of the Rhinoceros beetle varies on the type of species and ranges from weeks to months.[6]



This beetle gets its name from the horns projecting from its head. The Rhinoceros beetle can grow to 60mm in length. They have a horn on the thorax and another horn pointing forward from the center thorax. [7] The bodies of most beetles are covered by a thick exoskeleton. It has a pair of thin horny wings that are a protective covering to the membranous wings underneath. All beetles can fly, but due to their size and heavy horny wings they don't fly far. Their body consists of three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. The tracheal system of this insect takes in oxygen through a system of tubes that are located around the body which connect to very delicate fibers. The blood of the beetle is not used to transport oxygen.[8] The Rhinoceros beetle has chewing mouthparts.[9]


Rhinoceros beetles reproduces sexually and there are distinct male and female beetles. Rhinoceros beetles usually reproduce during the rainy times. As they begin to mate, the male begins to get very belligerent. A few species of Rhinoceros beetles clash with one another in order to attract females. They use their large horns to ram and knock each other over. [10] The female lays the eggs into the ground and the young go through many stages before becoming adults. The female can lay up to 50 eggs at a time.[11]



The grubs of the Rhinoceros beetles' diet consists of decomposing plant matter, stumps, rotten fruit, and dead leaves. You can find most of these grubs in the stumps of trees that they have drilled into, up from the ground. The enemies of the Rhino Beetle grubs are skunks, other mammals, and even other arthropods. Unlike the grubs, what the adult beetle eats is very unknown. They have been seen consuming rotten fruit and the bark of ash trees. The eggs of Rhinoceros beetles are not safe. There is a certain mite that feeds on them. It is about the same size of the egg and lives underground. The Mydas fly Maggot, another predator of Rhino beetle eggs, digs into the ground and eats the eggs.[12] These predators control the Rhino beetle population. Other adult species of Rhinoceros beetles eat nectar, plant sap, and fruit.[13] Rhinoceros Beetles recycle plant materials back into the earth and help it out by doing so. They are not pests but a one time reached that level.[14]

Life Cycle

The life cycle of different species of Rhinoceros beetles vary. The Eastern Hercules Beetle has complete metamorphosis, which consists of four stages: the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult.[15]

  • Egg Stage

The eggs are deposited into the soil by the female during the warmer seasons. [16]

  • Larval Stage

After a month the egg hatches, and it enters the larval stage. The larval stage can last several years depending on the species. [17] The larva stays underground for six months to one year. While they are there they grow and molt twice before entering the pupa stage.[18]

  • Pupa and Adult Stage

The Pupa stage doesn't last very long. It usually takes a few weeks. Once they grow into adults they still remain in the ground until spring. The female will begin releasing pheromones to attract the males as they surface. After they mate the female digs into the soil to lay the eggs and the cycle begins again.[19]

Other species of Rhinoceros Beetles have three instars, which means they molt three times.[20]