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KINGDOM : Animalia PHYLUM : Arthropoda CLASS : Insecta ORDER : Coleoptera FAMILY : Scarabaeidae SUBFAMILY : Cetoniinae TRIBE : Goliathini SUBTRIBE : Goliatthina GENUS : Goliathus SPECIES : G. Orientalis
Identification of the Goliath beetles Fornasinius (PDF)
The Goliath beetles (named after the biblical giant Goliath) are any of the five species in the genus Goliathus. Goliath beetles are among the largest insects on Earth, if measured in terms of size, bulk and weight. They are members of subfamily Cetoniinae, within the family Scarabaeidae. Goliath beetles can be found in many of Africa's tropical forests, where they feed primarily on tree sap and fruit. Little appears to be known of the larval cycle in the wild, but in captivity, Goliathus beetles have been successfully reared from egg to adult using protein-rich foods such as commercial cat and dog food. Goliath beetles measure from 60-110 millimetres for males and 50-80 millimetres for females, as adults, and can reach weights of up to 80-100 grams in the larval stage, though the adults are only about half this weight. The females range from a dark brown to silky white, but the males are normally brown/white/black or black/white.
This Goliath beetle has a patterned shell and brown wings with an outline of blue. The eyes are clearly visible and the head has a striking black pattern. The horns are more like pencil erasers and the legs have hazel hair growing on the sides. They also have sharp claws for grabbing things.Despite its large body, these beetles fly well. When not in use, these wings are kept completely folded beneath the elytra.
The body is broad and flat. Elytra are whitish with a complex pattern of black markings usually in the form of black rings. Pronotum thoracic shield usually shows large black longitudinal stripes or a large black area. This usual pattern may differ greatly in the subspecies. The head bears a black Y-shaped horn in males, used in battles with other males. Legs are long, powerful, black. The Goliath Beetle usually enjoys climbing branches - or what looks like a branch - like the rest of the family. The beetle grabs dead leaves on palm trees for its source of protein. Adults sip sugar substances from fruits and palm trees, which is most likely coconut.
The larvae live in the soil and need a protein-rich diet, because they grow very quickly. Even under optimum conditions, the larvae take about 4 months to mature fully, which corresponds to the duration of the rainy season. Larvae can reach a length of about 130 millimetres and a weight of about 100 grams. When maximum size is reached, the larva constructs a pupal chamber in which it will undergo metamorphosis to the adult state. In this stage they spend most of the dry season, and the adult does not emerge before the rainy season.
This species is present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Angola, and Zambia.
Goliathus larvae are somewhat unusual among cetoniine scarabs in that they have a greater need for high-protein foods than do those of most other genera. Pellets of dry or soft dog or cat food (buried in the rearing substrate on a regular schedule) provide a suitable diet for Goliathus larvae in captivity.