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Rhinoceros Beetle

So, you have come to this website to learn about beetles. Well, we will not be discussing John, Paul, Ringo, or George. We are talking about beetles that cannot carry a tune, but can carry things 850 times their own weight. 

Rhinoceros beetles are the super weightlifting champs of the insect world. Imagine if humans could match the rhino beetle's lifting power. We could carry our cars instead of riding in them. The rhinoceros beetle, a species of scarab beetle, is usually bigger than other types of scarab beetles. It can grow up to seven inches long. However, the typical rhino beetle found in America is usually about an inch long with brown coloration.

The rhino beetle gets its name from the horn on its head, similar to that of a rhinoceros. This horn is used for digging. In some species, the horn


can be longer than the body. Its horn size is proportional to how much nutrition it had when it was a larva. In certain species of rhino beetle horns grow on the side of its head, or even four or five separate horns sprout. Obviously, this small bug cannot use a shovel, so the horn comes in handy. Even though this horn is intimidating to the rhino beetle's predators, the horn cannot hurt humans. The rhino beetle's horn is also used for fighting over territory and mates.

The rhino beetle has wings, cannot fly as easily as other flying insects. The reason for this is the elytra, which is a wing cover. A beetle must pull its wings out from the elytra before flying, delaying flight. Thus, flying is not the best form of defense for any type of beetle. When a beetle decides to fly it usually uses its wings to fly towards light.

Adult rhino beetles eat sap and rotting fruit, especially apples, bananas, and oranges. Its larvae eat decaying wood, compost, and dead leaves. This decomposition is a kind of recycling for the environment.

The female Rhino beetle lays up to 50 eggs which take about three weeks to hatch into larvae. The larvae can take from three to five years to mature. They are curved, whitish, and slow moving. They tend to consume a lot of food, so when they morph into adult rhinoceros beetles, the adults do not need as much food for nutrients. This is the opposite of most adult Americans, including my Uncle Al who always eats seconds and thirds on any special occasion. Be careful when handling larvae because some larvae will bite their predators.

Adult rhinoceros beetles only live about one or two years. Rhino beetles like to eat, crawl around, and party during the night. They are less likely to be seen during the day. Many college students can relate to the rhino beetle's lifestyle. So, if they take over your garden (the rhino beetle, not college students) and you do not get rid of them, the good news is that they (the rhino beetle and, perhaps, the college students) will probably be gone by the next spring. The bad news is that their cousins will probably pay you a visit.


If you see a rhinoceros beetle crawling around your garden, chances are he has already indulged in the leaves of your plants and his larvae may have eaten the roots of your plants. You can take an empty glass jar to gently scoop up the rhinoceros beetle and his family. However, if you have decaying wood in your backyard, you may want to consider leaving the rhinoceros beetles alone because they will help decompose it.

If you decide to pick up a rhino beetle, it may scratch you with its legs. It may also make a squeaking noise, which is called stridulating. This is caused by the elytra rubbing against the abdomen. The rhino beetle has claws on its legs that help it climb or grip things. If you are holding one and it wraps onto your finger, gently tap it on its thorax. If you try to pull it off, it will grip your finger tighter. Think of it like a Chinese finger trap and you will get the hang of it.

If you are interested in obtaining a rhino beetle for a pet you can click here to contact a company that sells them.






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