Where Do Rhinoceros Beetles Live: Exploring Their Habitats and Range

Rhinoceros beetles are fascinating insects known for their unique appearance and incredible strength. As you explore the world of these intriguing creatures, you may be curious about where they call home.

These beetles can be found in various regions of the world, often living in tropical or subtropical environments. Their habitat consists of areas with abundant plant life, such as dense forests or agricultural lands. In these places, they feed on decaying matter and plant materials, making them a crucial part of the ecosystem.

Physical Characteristics

Rhinoceros beetles are an impressive species of insect, and their physical qualities make them an interesting subject. Here, we’ll take a look at some of their unique characteristics.

The males and females of this species have distinct differences in their appearance. The most notable feature is the horn-like projections on male beetles, which can reach up to one-third of their body length, and in some cases, even longer than the rest of the body 1. These horns are used primarily to fight other males in competition for mating opportunities.

Female rhinoceros beetles, on the other hand, lack these prominent horns. However, both males and females have robust exoskeletons and rounded dorsal surfaces. Their body sizes are not too different, usually measuring around 1 to 1⅛ inches in length 2.

The thorax and abdomen make up a significant portion of the beetle’s body, covered by hard, protective wing covers. Their legs are strong, allowing them to move through various habitats with ease.

Some key physical characteristics of rhinoceros beetles include:

  • Males: Large horns, robust body, rounded dorsal surfaces
  • Females: No horns, robust body, rounded dorsal surfaces
  • Both: Protective exoskeleton, hard wing covers, strong legs

In conclusion, rhinoceros beetles have distinctive physical features that set them apart from other insect species. Their horns, strong exoskeletons, and powerful legs equip them well for life in their natural habitats.

Habitat and Distribution

Rhinoceros beetles are fascinating creatures, and their habitats can differ based on their specific species. Generally, they prefer tropical and subtropical regions where they can find an abundance of decaying plant matter to feed on and lay their eggs in.

One example is the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, native to Southeast Asia. It has invaded many Pacific islands, such as Hawaii and American Samoa, causing extensive damage to coconut palms and other palm trees. It tends to bore into the crowns of these trees, feeding on their sap and damaging their growing tissue.

As a beetle enthusiast, you might come across these creatures in your own garden or nearby natural areas with a range of leaf litter, decaying logs, or compost piles. They are attracted to these locations due to the presence of organic matter that serves as food for their larvae.

In summary, rhinoceros beetles thrive in a variety of habitats, from forests with an abundance of decaying plant materials to human-made gardens. By understanding their habitat preferences, you can appreciate these remarkable insects and take the necessary precautions to protect your valuable plants.

Diet

Rhinoceros beetles, also known as Hercules beetles or Dynastes, have a quite varied diet. As a friendly guide, we’ll help you understand what these fascinating creatures eat.

In their larval stage, rhinoceros beetles mostly consume rotting wood and plant matter. This includes decomposing trees and various types of decaying plant materials. As they grow, their appetite changes, and they start to feed on a diverse range of food sources.

Now that we’ve covered their larval diet, let’s explore what adult rhinoceros beetles enjoy eating. You’ll find them munching on:

  • Fruit: They like ripe fruits like apples, bananas, and berries.
  • Sap: Tree sap is a common treat for these beetles.
  • Nectar: They have a sweet tooth, so they go for nectar from flowers.
  • Bark: Sometimes they can nibble on tree bark, although it isn’t their main food source.

Surprisingly, they don’t eat vegetables as much, sticking mostly to fruits, tree sap, and nectar.

To help you visualize the differences in their diet, here’s a comparison table:

Stage Main Food Sources
Larval Rotting wood, plant matter
Adult Fruit, sap, nectar, some bark

Remember to keep the friendly tone in your conversations and to address your audience in the second person. We hope this brief section on the diet of rhinoceros beetles has given you a clear understanding of their eating habits. Enjoy sharing this knowledge with others!

Reproduction and Lifecycle

The life cycle of a rhinoceros beetle involves several stages, starting with mating. Male and female rhinoceros beetles engage in a fascinating courtship process, where the male pushes and lifts the female with its curved horn to gain her attention.

After mating, the female beetle lays her eggs in a suitable decomposing organic matter like logs or compost heaps. The number of eggs laid varies depending on the species. The eggs then hatch into larvae, also known as ‘grubs,’ which remain in the larval stage for several months. The larvae are typically ‘C’-shaped and may grow up to 4 inches long or more. During this stage, they crawl on their side and feed on decomposing organic material where they can find abundant food sources.

The larval stage is followed by pupation, which takes place inside a protective cocoon-like structure called a pupal chamber. The pupa, which resembles an adult beetle but is immobile, undergoes several molts, or shedding of its exoskeleton, to grow and develop into an adult beetle.

Rhinoceros beetle adults have one of the longest lifespans among insects, living up to several months or even years. They continue to consume plant matter as adults, contributing to their large size and strong bodies. However, their lifespan may vary depending on the species and environmental factors.

Throughout their life cycle, rhinoceros beetles go through several instars, or developmental stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult). This progression helps them adapt to their surroundings and mature into strong, resilient creatures.

Remember to:

  • Always maintain a friendly tone of voice while discussing these topics
  • Compare the life cycles of different rhinoceros beetle species where possible
  • Use bullet points and tables to make information clear and concise

In summary, the life cycle of a rhinoceros beetle is complex and fascinating, involving various stages such as mating, laying eggs, larval development, pupation, molting, and adult maturation. By understanding their reproduction and life cycle, we gain insight into the behavior and ecology of these intriguing insects.

Behavior

Rhinoceros beetles are fascinating creatures, and their behavior is one of a kind. For instance, male beetles are known for their unique way of asserting dominance. They engage in fighting with their impressive horns, which they also use to lift objects. These beetles can even lift items much heavier than their body weight.

Their nocturnal nature means that they are most active during the night. This allows them to search for food and mates while avoiding potential predators. You’ll often hear hissing squeaks they produce while communicating with each other or during fights.

One of the most intriguing abilities of rhinoceros beetles is their capability for flight. Despite their massive appearance, they are surprisingly agile in the air. Their well-developed wings help them maximize their mobility and cover larger distances while searching for resources.

Here are some key characteristics of rhinoceros beetle behavior:

  • Male beetles use horns for fighting and lifting objects
  • Nocturnal, active mostly during the night
  • Produces hissing squeaks for communication
  • Capable of flight

In summary, understanding the behavior of rhinoceros beetles involves recognizing their unique abilities and characteristics. These amazing creatures navigate their environment with ease, showcasing their remarkable strength, communication skills, and in-flight agility.

Interaction with Humans

Rhinoceros beetles can have various interactions with humans. As pets, some people find them fascinating creatures and enjoy handling these beetles in a gentle manner. They can be an exciting addition to your insect collection.

However, there’s another side to these beetles as well. Some species, like the coconut rhinoceros beetle, can be harmful pests. They can cause significant damage to palm trees, which may affect local economies.

Keep in mind that not all rhinoceros beetles are pests. For example, the eastern hercules beetle is a harmless species native to the United States. So, it’s essential to distinguish between the harmful and the harmless species.

Here’s a comparison table of some key points:

Interaction Example Characteristics
As pets Eastern hercules beetle Fascinating, harmless
As pests Coconut rhinoceros beetle Damaging, invasive

In summary, your interactions with rhinoceros beetles can vary greatly. While some make fascinating pets, others can be destructive pests. Knowing the difference between the species is essential for a positive interaction with these unique creatures.

Species of Rhinoceros Beetles

Rhinoceros beetles belong to the subfamily Dynastinae and are part of the scarab beetle family (Scarabaeidae). They are known for their impressive horns and strong bodies. Let’s explore some of the different species.

Hercules Beetle (Dynastes hercules): These massive beetles are found in Central and South America. Males have elongated horns, which they use in battles for territory or mating rights. They can grow up to 7 inches long, including their horns.

Elephant Beetle (Megasoma elephas): Native to Central and South America, elephant beetles have large, broad horns resembling elephant tusks. Males can reach up to 5 inches in length.

Atlas Beetle: Found in Southeast Asia, these beetles are known for their distinctive, flattened horns. Males can measure up to 5 inches long.

Eastern Hercules Beetle: Like their tropical counterparts, these beetles are large and strong, but they are native to North America. Both males and females have horns, with males boasting longer, more prominent ones.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros): Native to Southeast Asia, this invasive beetle species poses a significant threat to coconut palms. They bore into the crowns of the trees, causing extensive damage.

Some other rhinoceros beetle species include the common rhinoceros beetle, European rhinoceros beetle, Japanese rhinoceros beetle, ox beetle, and Xylotrupes ulysses.

In addition to these species, rhinoceros beetles can be further categorized based on their features:

  • Unicorn Beetles: Recognizable by their single, elongated horn.
  • Dung Beetles: Found throughout the world, these beetles feed primarily on animal feces. Some species in the Rhino beetle group share this diet.
  • Stag Beetles: Not a rhinoceros beetle, but another group within the Scarabaeidae family, known for their large mandibles resembling stag antlers.

Overall, the many fascinating species of rhinoceros beetles showcase an incredible diversity in size, shape, and habitat.

Threats and Conservation

Rhinoceros beetles face various threats in their natural habitats. Some of their common predators include birds, which often feed on larvae or adult beetles. Besides predators, rhinoceros beetles also deal with habitat loss, which puts their existence at risk.

In an effort to preserve these beetles, numerous conservation programs are being implemented. For example, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act provides financial support for programs that aim to conserve rhinoceros and tiger populations, both indirectly benefiting beetles in shared habitats.

To protect the wildlife and their environment, you can play a part in conservation efforts. Many organizations work towards securing natural resources and preserving species like the rhinoceros beetle. By supporting these organizations, you contribute to the ongoing fight against habitat destruction and threats to wildlife.

Remember to stay informed and proactive in conservation initiatives. Your actions, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in preserving the rich biodiversity of our planet. In turn, this helps secure the future of rhinoceros beetles and other wildlife species.

Additional Facts

Rhinoceros Beetles, part of the Coleoptera order, are one of the largest beetles in the world. They are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, living within leaf litter and rotting wood during their invertebrate stage of life. In the summer months, these herbivorous insects become more active as the weather is warmer.

Examples of these impressive creatures include the eastern hercules beetle, which can reach a length of up to 7 inches. This particular species is characterized by the large horns on male specimens, which serve as a form of projection and are used when competing with other males for mates.

The biology of a rhinoceros beetle is quite fascinating. As an invertebrate, they have an exoskeleton that provides support and protection for their internal organs. Here are some features unique to rhinoceros beetles:

  • Large horn-like projection: This is present on the head, used in the males’ competition for mates.
  • Herbivorous diet: They primarily feed on plant matter in their adult stage, contributing to their status as herbivorous insects.

When considering different species of rhinoceros beetles, some notable comparisons can be made:

Species Habitat Horn Length Size
Eastern Hercules Beetle United States 7 inches 1.5 to 2.5 inches
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Southeast Asia, Hawaii Varies 1 to 2 inches
American Rhinoceros Beetle North and Central America Varies 1 to 1⅛ inches

In summary, rhinoceros beetles are fascinating creatures with unique characteristics, making them an exciting subject for further study. While the information above provides a glimpse into the world of these beetles, remember that the best way to learn more is to explore articles, documentaries, and scientific studies related to these amazingly large and intriguing insects.

Footnotes

  1. https://extensionentomology.tamu.edu/insect/rhinoceros-beetle/

  2. https://mlbs.virginia.edu/organism/xyloryctes_jamaicensis

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Black Beetle Indentification
Location:  South Carolina
September 18, 2010 11:04 am
Hi!
Could you please help me identify this large black beetle? So far, I’ve had no luck. It measures between 1 1/2 and 2 inches.
Thanks!
Signature:  Insect Project

Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Insect Project,
This appears to us to be a Rhinoceros Beetle,
Xyloryctes jamaicensis, one of the large Scarab Beetles in the tribe Oryctini of the subfamily Dynastinae.  You can verify this by visiting BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Western Hercules Beetle

 

AZ Beetle
Location: South west U.S.
September 2, 2011 1:27 pm
Could you, would you please identify this beetle for us?
Thanks,
Jim.
Signature: Thanks

Female Western Hercules Beetle

Hi Jim,
This is a female Hercules Beetle, and considering your location, it is most likely a Western Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes grantii.  All of the sightings on BugGuide that are listed on the data page are from Arizona.  Males of the species have exaggerated horns.

Letter 3 – Rhinoceros Beetle, with curious horn

 

Subject: Rhinoceros Beetle
Location: Delaware Watergap NJ
November 30, 2015 6:23 am
Hi Bug Man,
I know this adorable guy was a rhinoceros beetle the moment I saw him. However, I cannot find his exact species. All the images I can find do not have the same horn, his horn has three small nodes at the end.
Any idea??
Signature: Fern

Rhinoceros Beetle
Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Fern,
We agree that this is a Rhinoceros Beetle, most likely Xyloryctes jamaicensis, though the bifurcated horn on your individual is quite curious and no individuals posted to BugGuide possess a similar horn.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he has an opinion.  Did you really see this beetle today?  Was the sighting at some other time of year?

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for the fast response!  The horn certainly confused me a little, as I haven’t been able to find a match for him.
This was late summer, maybe the last week of August.
Jennifern Hippely
Artist

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Wondering if it is not just debris on the horn.  I found several specimens of the western species in New Mexico, and they often had caked soil on them from having dug out of the ground.
Eric

Thanks Daniel,
I’m sorry to trouble you over this.  Mine is certainly a match for the Americana Rhinoceros except for the horn anomaly!  Ha ha.
I remember it had an unusual horn, and my poor quality picture even shows something there.  However, I have no other clearer pictures, and I can’t see the horn.  Perhaps I misinterpreted some dirt, or damage.
Thank you again for clearly identifying him.
Fern

Letter 4 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Please Help!!!
Hi Bugman,
Your site is amazing!!! I found this little guy dead on a concrete pad in my home town of Elberton, in the northeast region of Georgia. I am almost certain that he is in the scarab family, but I can’t find any information on him specifically. I am starting my own insect collection, and would like to know his name so I can accurately describe him. Thanks for your help.
Chris B

Hi Chris,
This scarab is commonly called the Rhinoceros Beetle. Its scientific name is Xyloryctes jamaicensis.

Letter 5 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Large Beetle
Location: Garner, NC
August 8, 2011 10:56 am
Found this beetle in our pool skimmer in the AM. (July 8th, Day Temps 90-100, Night Temps 70’s) Looks like a Stag beetle? Doesn’t match any photos I found.
Signature: D. Northrup

Rhinoceros Beetle

Hi D.,
The Rhinoceros Beetle,
Xyloryctes jamaicensis, takes its common name from another large horned mammal.  You can see BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 6 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

is this a hercules beetle / rhinocerous beetle? what do they eat?
This beetle was found in Brisbane, Australia. My son wants to keep it in a fish tank. Any info on habitat and what they like to eat would be greatly appreciated. I did a little research I think apple and banana Will be eaten. Thank you
Chris Farrell

Hi Chris,
The Geocities website has a nice page on this Rhinoceros Beetle, Xylotrupes gideon. There is nothing mentioned about food for the adults, but fruit is a great place to start.

Letter 7 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

Rhinoceros beetle?
Hi What’s That Bug,
Enclosed are four images, of two beetles we found in our garden (South East Australia) this morning. The first (beetle1 and beetle2)was rescued from drowning in a pet’s water bowl – there have been a few unfortunate fatalities of that nature, recently. It had rather powerful legs, digging between our fingers, and was squeaking quite loudly. The second beetle (rhinobeetle1 and rhinobeetle2) was found meandering across the front garden. I’ve never seen anything like it in this area, and am at a loss to identify it. (The Googled images of rhinoceros beetles don’t quite fit for this little guy.) It was a lot more placid than the first beetle, and only squeaked when he was put back down. Both were returned to the relative safety of the area we found them. Thanks for any information you might be able to provide on their identification, and I hope the images are of use!
Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
We believe your Rhino Beetles are Dasygnathus trituberculatus as identified on the Geocities site. Furthermore, we believe your other beetle might be a female which lacks the horns.

Letter 8 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

What’s this bug?
Hi there bug guy,
Hope you can help me name this bug my son found outside on our fence. I’ve never seen this beetle before. He’s really cute, but he has a very loud and very scary hisssssss. My cat was not impressed by him at all 🙂 Is this bug native to where we are? Northern Territory Australia. And can we keep him as a pet, or should we let him back in the garden? Can we handle him? Carefully of course. Or is he poisonous, a biter? Thanks for any help you can give us.
Sarah and Dylan.

Hi Sarah and Dylan,
Though your photo is quite blurry, we believe this is Haploscapanes australicus, a somewhat rare Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia. Sadly the angle of view and image quality leave room for doubt. You can feed your pet ripe fruit, like bananas, but probably it would be best to release him in the hopes he will find a mate.

Letter 9 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Ecuador: Comes with a dozen roses!!!

 

what is this
We’re in the flower business and we recieve imports from all over the world. Most of our products are inspected with a magnifying glass by USDA inspectors for every possible insect or mollusk. Somehow this guy came in under the radar, he was found inside a rose box from Ecuador. What’s that bug? regards,
Heather Cook

Hi Heather,
That is some impressive stowaway you’ve got there. This is one of the Rhinoceros Beetles in the genus Golofa, but we are not entirely sure of the species. It might be Golofa pizarro, but we don’t think so because the shape of the upper horn is convex, not concave. Golofa eacus is another possibility. Golofa claviger seems to be a better match. We located a website selling specimens from this genus that has images of other species including Golofa gaugoni. Finally, we located a wonderful webpage with images of Rhinoceros Beetles on stamps, including several Golofa species that are called Corn Beetles. Our money is on Golofa claviger, but we will try to get Eric Eaton’s opinion. Our big question is “Are you are going to include this lovely gentleman in some lucky lady’s St. Valentine’s Day bouquet?”

Letter 10 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Panama

 

Another Beetle
I found this beetle in Buena Vista, Colon, Panama. I work in a quarry in the middle of some pretty dense jungle. The bugs here are enormous! For example, this fella is 11 cm long. Unfortunately, we found him dead. I have since found many others alive. By the way, you don’t want to get those claws grabbing on to your skin or clothes. It took three people to unhook him to get him off. What is he?
Lisa

Hi Lisa,
This scarab beetle is in the subfamily Dynastinae, the Rhinoceros Beetles. We are sure someone will write in with an exact species for you. Sure enough, Eric Eaton has this to add: ” The dynasine is in the genus Megasoma, forget which species, maybe elaphas. Should come up easily with an image search on Google.”

Letter 11 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Paraguay: Strategus mandibularis we believe

 

Subject: tricorn? can you tell me the name?
Location: South America – Paraguay
December 6, 2012 8:49 pm
I found this bug in South America – Paraguay.
agradecería que me digan el nombre científico.
Muchas gracias!
Signature: Freddy

Rhinoceros Beetle: Strategus mandibularis

Hola Freddy,
Identifying this Rhinoceros Beetle from the subfamily Dynastinae turned out to be remarkably easy.  After our initial web search, we found the Fauna of Paraguay website, and it has a page devoted entirely to Dynastinae.  Figure 11 which is a male 
Strategus mandibularis appears to be a perfect match to your handsome Scarab Beetle. Like other members of the subfamily, the males have pronounced horns and the females do not.

 

Letter 12 – Scarab Beetle may be female Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: What kind of beetle is this!
Location: Middle of texas
July 10, 2014 8:09 pm
I found this bug in our home it was huge. Looked like a june bug but on steroids. I’ve never saw one like it. It had a inch wing span that was very loud. It was dark brown ,hard shell,no large inteneas. It could fit in the palm of my hand. Can you tell me what this baby is.
Signature: Cathy

Scarab
Scarab

Hi Cathy,
The reason you believe this beetle looks like a June Bug on steroids is that both are Scarab Beetles in the family Scarabaeidae, but sadly, the images do not have the necessary detail for our staff to identify it more specifically.  It seems we are on a trend of posting images of fearless women with patriotic nail polish today.

Update:  August 12, 2014
Subject: Miss identified
August 12, 2014 11:12 pm
Hey guys! I was looking through your posts and noticed you miss identified a beetle I’m very fermiliar with. You claimed the beetle to be “a June bug on staroids” when it was intact a female eastern or western herculese beetle. It may have been hard to identify because when they go into the soul their shells absorb the moisture and turn dark brown. I know this well because I have recently been rearing this specious. I will include a photo of the original post and my own photo of the species (although in the photo she is light colored because she hadn’t been in moist soil)
Signature: Best regards, Nikki

Letter 13 – South American Rhinoceros Beetle

 

South American cousins
Hi guys – Great site !!
Recently returned from a trip to SA and thought some of your readers might like to see what one of the SA cousins of the Rhino beetle looks like. This one was found wandering at the top of a mountain near Cali Colombia at the Cristo Rey site. Sorry I didn’t include a reference for measurement – about 3 inches in length. My thanks in advance,
Burton

Hi Burton,
Thanks for the fascinating photo.

Letter 14 – Southwestern Hercules Beetle

 

dynastes granti
Found this guy near Morenci, AZ He measured in at 75mm. He likes apples and bananas.

We are thrilled to see and post your photo of the Southwestern Hercules Beetle. We get numerous images of his cousin, Dynastes tityus, but submissions of granti are rare.

Letter 15 – Two male Hercules Beetles

 

Hercules Beetles
Hey,
Attached are a couple pics of two Hercules beetles we found on our back deck in Fairfax (northern) Virginia. I’ve lived here since 1975, this is the first time I’ve ever seen these very interesting and, initially, somewhat intimidating creatures. My kids decided to name them: Herc and Karrie (although I assume they are both males).
Thanks,
Dave Winkler

Hi Dave,
You are correct, you have two male Hercules Beetles, Dynastes tityus. The male has more pronounced horns.

Letter 16 – Unknown Rhinoceros Beetles from Brazil: Megasoma actaeon maybe

 

Big Beetle Classification
February 26, 2010
These bugs were seen in an area of Brasil that is almost uninhabited, except for a select few farms, and groupings of indigenous tribes in a large preservation area, close to the Xingu river.
These bugs appeared after torrential rains, and came out at night – usually getting stuck on their backs, if they weren’t mating. The males and females differ, as one has a large horn. I have found several beetles that seem to have their characteristics, though haven’t found the correct name. Can you help? 🙂
Amaris in Wonderland
Rio Culuene, Mato Grosso, Brasil

Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Amaris,
It is very often the case with Rhinoceros Beetles, Scarab Beetles in the subfamily Dynastinae, that the male possesses spectacular horns while the female is hornless.  It appears though that you may have submitted images of two different species.  The hornless close-up individual with the ridged elytra or wing covers appears to be a different species from the horned individuals in the long shot which look like they have smooth elytra.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide more information than a subfamily name Dynastinae and the general common name for individuals in the subfamily Dynastinae, Rhinoceros Beetles.

Rhinoceros Beetles

Daniel and Amaris:
I can’t be certain because the images provide little sense of scale and the photo of the males is short on detail, but I will take a stab at it anyway. I think they are probably Rhinoceros Beetles in the genus Megasoma, possibly M. actaeon, which range across northern South America. These are very large beetles indeed (up to 12 or 13 cm long for males), so Amaris can probably let me know right away if I am off track. M. actaeon are sexually dimorphic, females are hornless and their elytra are rough (sort of like walnut shells), whereas the males are smooth and shiny. You can also check out the ‘Butterflies and Beetles of Argentina’ site (scroll down to the fifth image), or ‘Naturalworlds’ (two pages of photos and information). Regards.
Karl

Letter 17 – Western Hercules Beetle

 

what’s that bug?
Location: Sedona, Az
September 10, 2011 12:42 pm
I wish to find out what species made so much noise during my camping at Sedona, Az.
Signature: Lidka

Western Hercules Beetle

Hi Lidka,
Even though your request arrived several days ago, and we manage to do more postings on the weekend than during our hectic work week, we were unable to respond to the lion’s share of requests we have received recently.  We are happy we decided to attempt one more posting before heading to work.  This is a male Western Hercules Beetle or Grant’s Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes grantii, and though it is not considered a rare species, we do not get many images of this species found in the Southwest.  We get significantly more images of its eastern relative, the Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  The horn of the Western Hercules Beetle is more pronounced, and both species are included in the subfamily Dynastinae, the Rhinoceros Beetles.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Black Beetle Indentification
Location:  South Carolina
September 18, 2010 11:04 am
Hi!
Could you please help me identify this large black beetle? So far, I’ve had no luck. It measures between 1 1/2 and 2 inches.
Thanks!
Signature:  Insect Project

Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Insect Project,
This appears to us to be a Rhinoceros Beetle,
Xyloryctes jamaicensis, one of the large Scarab Beetles in the tribe Oryctini of the subfamily Dynastinae.  You can verify this by visiting BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Western Hercules Beetle

 

AZ Beetle
Location: South west U.S.
September 2, 2011 1:27 pm
Could you, would you please identify this beetle for us?
Thanks,
Jim.
Signature: Thanks

Female Western Hercules Beetle

Hi Jim,
This is a female Hercules Beetle, and considering your location, it is most likely a Western Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes grantii.  All of the sightings on BugGuide that are listed on the data page are from Arizona.  Males of the species have exaggerated horns.

Letter 3 – Rhinoceros Beetle, with curious horn

 

Subject: Rhinoceros Beetle
Location: Delaware Watergap NJ
November 30, 2015 6:23 am
Hi Bug Man,
I know this adorable guy was a rhinoceros beetle the moment I saw him. However, I cannot find his exact species. All the images I can find do not have the same horn, his horn has three small nodes at the end.
Any idea??
Signature: Fern

Rhinoceros Beetle
Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Fern,
We agree that this is a Rhinoceros Beetle, most likely Xyloryctes jamaicensis, though the bifurcated horn on your individual is quite curious and no individuals posted to BugGuide possess a similar horn.  We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he has an opinion.  Did you really see this beetle today?  Was the sighting at some other time of year?

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for the fast response!  The horn certainly confused me a little, as I haven’t been able to find a match for him.
This was late summer, maybe the last week of August.
Jennifern Hippely
Artist

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
Wondering if it is not just debris on the horn.  I found several specimens of the western species in New Mexico, and they often had caked soil on them from having dug out of the ground.
Eric

Thanks Daniel,
I’m sorry to trouble you over this.  Mine is certainly a match for the Americana Rhinoceros except for the horn anomaly!  Ha ha.
I remember it had an unusual horn, and my poor quality picture even shows something there.  However, I have no other clearer pictures, and I can’t see the horn.  Perhaps I misinterpreted some dirt, or damage.
Thank you again for clearly identifying him.
Fern

Letter 4 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Please Help!!!
Hi Bugman,
Your site is amazing!!! I found this little guy dead on a concrete pad in my home town of Elberton, in the northeast region of Georgia. I am almost certain that he is in the scarab family, but I can’t find any information on him specifically. I am starting my own insect collection, and would like to know his name so I can accurately describe him. Thanks for your help.
Chris B

Hi Chris,
This scarab is commonly called the Rhinoceros Beetle. Its scientific name is Xyloryctes jamaicensis.

Letter 5 – Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Large Beetle
Location: Garner, NC
August 8, 2011 10:56 am
Found this beetle in our pool skimmer in the AM. (July 8th, Day Temps 90-100, Night Temps 70’s) Looks like a Stag beetle? Doesn’t match any photos I found.
Signature: D. Northrup

Rhinoceros Beetle

Hi D.,
The Rhinoceros Beetle,
Xyloryctes jamaicensis, takes its common name from another large horned mammal.  You can see BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 6 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

is this a hercules beetle / rhinocerous beetle? what do they eat?
This beetle was found in Brisbane, Australia. My son wants to keep it in a fish tank. Any info on habitat and what they like to eat would be greatly appreciated. I did a little research I think apple and banana Will be eaten. Thank you
Chris Farrell

Hi Chris,
The Geocities website has a nice page on this Rhinoceros Beetle, Xylotrupes gideon. There is nothing mentioned about food for the adults, but fruit is a great place to start.

Letter 7 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

Rhinoceros beetle?
Hi What’s That Bug,
Enclosed are four images, of two beetles we found in our garden (South East Australia) this morning. The first (beetle1 and beetle2)was rescued from drowning in a pet’s water bowl – there have been a few unfortunate fatalities of that nature, recently. It had rather powerful legs, digging between our fingers, and was squeaking quite loudly. The second beetle (rhinobeetle1 and rhinobeetle2) was found meandering across the front garden. I’ve never seen anything like it in this area, and am at a loss to identify it. (The Googled images of rhinoceros beetles don’t quite fit for this little guy.) It was a lot more placid than the first beetle, and only squeaked when he was put back down. Both were returned to the relative safety of the area we found them. Thanks for any information you might be able to provide on their identification, and I hope the images are of use!
Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
We believe your Rhino Beetles are Dasygnathus trituberculatus as identified on the Geocities site. Furthermore, we believe your other beetle might be a female which lacks the horns.

Letter 8 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia

 

What’s this bug?
Hi there bug guy,
Hope you can help me name this bug my son found outside on our fence. I’ve never seen this beetle before. He’s really cute, but he has a very loud and very scary hisssssss. My cat was not impressed by him at all 🙂 Is this bug native to where we are? Northern Territory Australia. And can we keep him as a pet, or should we let him back in the garden? Can we handle him? Carefully of course. Or is he poisonous, a biter? Thanks for any help you can give us.
Sarah and Dylan.

Hi Sarah and Dylan,
Though your photo is quite blurry, we believe this is Haploscapanes australicus, a somewhat rare Rhinoceros Beetle from Australia. Sadly the angle of view and image quality leave room for doubt. You can feed your pet ripe fruit, like bananas, but probably it would be best to release him in the hopes he will find a mate.

Letter 9 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Ecuador: Comes with a dozen roses!!!

 

what is this
We’re in the flower business and we recieve imports from all over the world. Most of our products are inspected with a magnifying glass by USDA inspectors for every possible insect or mollusk. Somehow this guy came in under the radar, he was found inside a rose box from Ecuador. What’s that bug? regards,
Heather Cook

Hi Heather,
That is some impressive stowaway you’ve got there. This is one of the Rhinoceros Beetles in the genus Golofa, but we are not entirely sure of the species. It might be Golofa pizarro, but we don’t think so because the shape of the upper horn is convex, not concave. Golofa eacus is another possibility. Golofa claviger seems to be a better match. We located a website selling specimens from this genus that has images of other species including Golofa gaugoni. Finally, we located a wonderful webpage with images of Rhinoceros Beetles on stamps, including several Golofa species that are called Corn Beetles. Our money is on Golofa claviger, but we will try to get Eric Eaton’s opinion. Our big question is “Are you are going to include this lovely gentleman in some lucky lady’s St. Valentine’s Day bouquet?”

Letter 10 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Panama

 

Another Beetle
I found this beetle in Buena Vista, Colon, Panama. I work in a quarry in the middle of some pretty dense jungle. The bugs here are enormous! For example, this fella is 11 cm long. Unfortunately, we found him dead. I have since found many others alive. By the way, you don’t want to get those claws grabbing on to your skin or clothes. It took three people to unhook him to get him off. What is he?
Lisa

Hi Lisa,
This scarab beetle is in the subfamily Dynastinae, the Rhinoceros Beetles. We are sure someone will write in with an exact species for you. Sure enough, Eric Eaton has this to add: ” The dynasine is in the genus Megasoma, forget which species, maybe elaphas. Should come up easily with an image search on Google.”

Letter 11 – Rhinoceros Beetle from Paraguay: Strategus mandibularis we believe

 

Subject: tricorn? can you tell me the name?
Location: South America – Paraguay
December 6, 2012 8:49 pm
I found this bug in South America – Paraguay.
agradecería que me digan el nombre científico.
Muchas gracias!
Signature: Freddy

Rhinoceros Beetle: Strategus mandibularis

Hola Freddy,
Identifying this Rhinoceros Beetle from the subfamily Dynastinae turned out to be remarkably easy.  After our initial web search, we found the Fauna of Paraguay website, and it has a page devoted entirely to Dynastinae.  Figure 11 which is a male 
Strategus mandibularis appears to be a perfect match to your handsome Scarab Beetle. Like other members of the subfamily, the males have pronounced horns and the females do not.

 

Letter 12 – Scarab Beetle may be female Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: What kind of beetle is this!
Location: Middle of texas
July 10, 2014 8:09 pm
I found this bug in our home it was huge. Looked like a june bug but on steroids. I’ve never saw one like it. It had a inch wing span that was very loud. It was dark brown ,hard shell,no large inteneas. It could fit in the palm of my hand. Can you tell me what this baby is.
Signature: Cathy

Scarab
Scarab

Hi Cathy,
The reason you believe this beetle looks like a June Bug on steroids is that both are Scarab Beetles in the family Scarabaeidae, but sadly, the images do not have the necessary detail for our staff to identify it more specifically.  It seems we are on a trend of posting images of fearless women with patriotic nail polish today.

Update:  August 12, 2014
Subject: Miss identified
August 12, 2014 11:12 pm
Hey guys! I was looking through your posts and noticed you miss identified a beetle I’m very fermiliar with. You claimed the beetle to be “a June bug on staroids” when it was intact a female eastern or western herculese beetle. It may have been hard to identify because when they go into the soul their shells absorb the moisture and turn dark brown. I know this well because I have recently been rearing this specious. I will include a photo of the original post and my own photo of the species (although in the photo she is light colored because she hadn’t been in moist soil)
Signature: Best regards, Nikki

Letter 13 – South American Rhinoceros Beetle

 

South American cousins
Hi guys – Great site !!
Recently returned from a trip to SA and thought some of your readers might like to see what one of the SA cousins of the Rhino beetle looks like. This one was found wandering at the top of a mountain near Cali Colombia at the Cristo Rey site. Sorry I didn’t include a reference for measurement – about 3 inches in length. My thanks in advance,
Burton

Hi Burton,
Thanks for the fascinating photo.

Letter 14 – Southwestern Hercules Beetle

 

dynastes granti
Found this guy near Morenci, AZ He measured in at 75mm. He likes apples and bananas.

We are thrilled to see and post your photo of the Southwestern Hercules Beetle. We get numerous images of his cousin, Dynastes tityus, but submissions of granti are rare.

Letter 15 – Two male Hercules Beetles

 

Hercules Beetles
Hey,
Attached are a couple pics of two Hercules beetles we found on our back deck in Fairfax (northern) Virginia. I’ve lived here since 1975, this is the first time I’ve ever seen these very interesting and, initially, somewhat intimidating creatures. My kids decided to name them: Herc and Karrie (although I assume they are both males).
Thanks,
Dave Winkler

Hi Dave,
You are correct, you have two male Hercules Beetles, Dynastes tityus. The male has more pronounced horns.

Letter 16 – Unknown Rhinoceros Beetles from Brazil: Megasoma actaeon maybe

 

Big Beetle Classification
February 26, 2010
These bugs were seen in an area of Brasil that is almost uninhabited, except for a select few farms, and groupings of indigenous tribes in a large preservation area, close to the Xingu river.
These bugs appeared after torrential rains, and came out at night – usually getting stuck on their backs, if they weren’t mating. The males and females differ, as one has a large horn. I have found several beetles that seem to have their characteristics, though haven’t found the correct name. Can you help? 🙂
Amaris in Wonderland
Rio Culuene, Mato Grosso, Brasil

Rhinoceros Beetle

Dear Amaris,
It is very often the case with Rhinoceros Beetles, Scarab Beetles in the subfamily Dynastinae, that the male possesses spectacular horns while the female is hornless.  It appears though that you may have submitted images of two different species.  The hornless close-up individual with the ridged elytra or wing covers appears to be a different species from the horned individuals in the long shot which look like they have smooth elytra.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide more information than a subfamily name Dynastinae and the general common name for individuals in the subfamily Dynastinae, Rhinoceros Beetles.

Rhinoceros Beetles

Daniel and Amaris:
I can’t be certain because the images provide little sense of scale and the photo of the males is short on detail, but I will take a stab at it anyway. I think they are probably Rhinoceros Beetles in the genus Megasoma, possibly M. actaeon, which range across northern South America. These are very large beetles indeed (up to 12 or 13 cm long for males), so Amaris can probably let me know right away if I am off track. M. actaeon are sexually dimorphic, females are hornless and their elytra are rough (sort of like walnut shells), whereas the males are smooth and shiny. You can also check out the ‘Butterflies and Beetles of Argentina’ site (scroll down to the fifth image), or ‘Naturalworlds’ (two pages of photos and information). Regards.
Karl

Letter 17 – Western Hercules Beetle

 

what’s that bug?
Location: Sedona, Az
September 10, 2011 12:42 pm
I wish to find out what species made so much noise during my camping at Sedona, Az.
Signature: Lidka

Western Hercules Beetle

Hi Lidka,
Even though your request arrived several days ago, and we manage to do more postings on the weekend than during our hectic work week, we were unable to respond to the lion’s share of requests we have received recently.  We are happy we decided to attempt one more posting before heading to work.  This is a male Western Hercules Beetle or Grant’s Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes grantii, and though it is not considered a rare species, we do not get many images of this species found in the Southwest.  We get significantly more images of its eastern relative, the Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  The horn of the Western Hercules Beetle is more pronounced, and both species are included in the subfamily Dynastinae, the Rhinoceros Beetles.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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9 thoughts on “Where Do Rhinoceros Beetles Live: Exploring Their Habitats and Range”

  1. While I don’t know what species these are, Dynastinae are eaten all over the world [I’ll post some images of Thai specimens I’ve got] in three out of four life-stages: larval/pupal/adult. The latter require some “peeling” of elytra and other parts, leaving what most call a ‘nugget’ of meat in the abdomen.

    Dave
    http://www.smallstockfoods.com

    Reply
  2. Mine looks just like his picture with two horns like a bull on top of the head. Is that common with the species you mentioned? All the photos as the bug guide have only a single nose horn.

    Reply
  3. can anyone find the kingdom phylum class order family genus species of this bug i have one and have been looking for an hour and cant find it

    Reply

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