Devon Troutman

Rhinoceros Beetle

Kingdom: Animalia Rhinoceros-Beetle2.jpg
Phylum: Arthopoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scarabaeidae
Subfamily: Dynastinae

Rhinoceros beetles are also sometimes called Hercules beetles, Unicorn beetles, or horn beetles. They are among the world's largest beetles, and there are over 300 known species of the rhino beetle. Rhinoceros beetles can reach 60 millimeters in length, however they are completely harmless to humans because they cannot bite or sting. Their common name refers to the characteristic horns born only by the males of most species in the group.


Rhino Beetles live in rainforests such as Malaysian or South American rainforests. Rhino beetles are also found in the United States. Rhino beetles are usually found in organic or dead compost areas. In addition, the larvae of the beetles live in rotten logs. In general, Rhinoceros beetles are found in deciduous forests.
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Mating Habits

Rhinoceros beetles reproduce 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 tough and aggresive. 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. The female lays the egg into the ground and the young go through many stages before become adults. The female can lay up to fifty eggs at one time.

Life Cycle

As said before, the female can lay up to fifty white eggs at a time, usually underground. After the reproduction, the egss stay in incubation for three to four months before hatching. The larvae feed on rotting wood and compost. Rhinoceros beetles spend most of their life cycle as larvae. This stage of the beetle's life can last between six months and two years. The rhinoceros beetle next transforms into a pupa. In this stage, the beetle becomes dormant as it enters three periods of molting, called instars. During each instar, the beetle sheds its skin and prepares for the exoskeleton that will protects its body. The pupa becomes a darker color as it assumes the final color of its exoskeleton. After about one to two months, the pupa emerges as an adult beetle. Although many types of rhinoceros beetles exist, the male beetles all have hornlike protrusions on their heads. Females look plain by comparison and are less frequently noticed. After reaching adulthood, the rhinoceros beetle can live anywhere between a few weeks to approximately six months. The main objective of the beetle in this stage is to reproduce and begin the life cycle again. As an adult beetle, the rhinoceros beetle is known as the strongest animal in the planet proportionate to its size.

Feeding Habits

Adult rhino beetles eat sap and rotting fruit, especially apples, bananas, and oranges. Adults also feed on ash. Its larvae eat decaying wood, compost, and dead leaves.


Ecological Role

As said before, the larvae of Rhinoceros beetles eat decaying wood, compost, and dead leaves. This type of decomposition acts as a kind of recycling for the environment. Rhinoceros beetles are not considered pests, but at one time they had reached that level. The population of Rhinoceros beetles is controlled by predators. Predators of the Rhinoceros beetle include skunks, arthropods, and other mammals.


There is significant sexual dimorphism in Hercules beetles. It is easy to distinguish between males and females. Adult males (shown at upper left) have an upper horn that protrudes forward from the head and a lower horn that protrudes forward from the head, while females (shown at right) lack horns altogether. Males can be up to six and a half inches long, including the horns. Females often have a greater body length but are not as long overall. Males have black heads and a set of forewings that can be shades of green, brown or black, while females are entirely brownish black.
Rhinoceros beetles have the ability to fly, but because of their size and horny wings they are not very good at it. Rhinoceros beetles are not very active during the day, so they easily stay away from their predators. During the day they hide under logs or vegetation to camouflage. If disturbed, the beetles release a very loud hissing squeak.

Geographic Range

There are many species of Rhinoceros beetles that live in different parts of the world.

Allomyrrhina dichotoma- Taiwan, Japan, China
Augosoma centaurus- Africa
Dynastes hercules- Eastern United States
Eupatorus gracillicornis- Southeast Asia
Heterogomphus chevrolati- Costa Rica/ Central and South America
Homophileurus quadrituberculatus- Puerto Rico
Phileurus truncatus- North America (uncommonly found)
Xyloryctes thestalus- Central and Eastern United States
Xylotrupes gideon- Asia and Indo/Pacific

Rhinoceros Beetle Sounds

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These sounds represent the noises of three different coconut rhinoceros beetles.


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