Brown rhinoceros beetle

Embedded in clear epoxy resin



Phylum Arthropoda

Class Insecta

Order Coleoptera

Family Scarabaeidae

Genus Xylotrupes

Species X. Gideon


Brown rhinoceros beetle

Xylotrupes gideon, the brown rhinoceros beetle, is a species of large scarab beetle belonging to the subfamily Dynastinae. This species is widespread in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia: Java, Borneo, Sunda Islands and Moluccas.

The term rhinoceros beetle, or rhino beetle for short, is commonly used to refer to any kind of horned beetle, and most often refers to species from the subfamily Dynastinae. The Dynastines are one of the most recognisable groups of beetles, due to their relatively large size and the massive facial horns present in many species. These signature horns are usually only present in adult males, and often used for macho man-to-man battles for honour and the hands of pretty beetle ladies. As to why they're called Rhinoceros beetles, it should be pretty obvious unless you have no idea what a Rhinoceros looks like.

Xylotrupes gideon can reach a length of 3.5-7 centimetres. As usual with rhinoceros beetles there is a great difference between the genders. Males are larger than females. They have two chitinous bifurcated horns, a thick thoracic horn and a smaller cephalic horn, which they use to eliminate their rivals during the mating period. These beetles are shiny dark red, dark brown, or black in coloration. The eyes are located on each side of the head. When disturbed these beetles make a hissing noise, produced by rubbing the tip of the abdomen against the edge the elytra.

Chiefly nocturnal, are most commonly observed in the summer months, particularly around lights. The male is a shiny black with forked horns on head and thorax. The female is a matt black and lacks the horns. Adults make a hissing noise when disturbed. And feed on the soft bark of trees. Mature larvae to 5 cm long are greyish with a dark brown head and are curled into a semi-circle. Usually found in compost or decaying plant material.

Rhinoceros beetles are famous for their purported power, with anecdotal accounts of ridiculously impressive feats strength. An entry in the Guinness Book of World Records claims that the strongest animal was a rhinoceros beetle that could support 850 times its body mass . More credibly, scientific investigation involves beetles carrying little dumbbells while walking on tiny treadmills, found that dynastine beetles could still move with a load 100 times its body mass, and could sustain regular walking speed with a load 30 times their body mass6 . This means that the beetles are able to move heavy loads with great efficiency, such that investigating scientists are unsure about how it is possible with existing knowledge of biomechanics and metabolic costs.

One source gives the average duration of the different developmental stages; females lay about 55 eggs at one time in decaying logs; eggs mature in 21 days, where the larvae hatch from decaying coconut logs; the total larval period is 188 days, followed by 14 days of prepupal and 32 days of pupal periods; adult females are live about 102 days, whereas adult males survive 90 days. Other sources indicate that the larvae develop in decaying vegetable matter and usually take two years in development, the adult beetles live 2-4 months. A female can lay about 20-30 eggs but it depends on the place where they live.

This species is considered as a serious pest on coconut and also a minor pest on plum, okra, oil palm, sugarcane, Persea bombycina, rubber, banana, bamboo, Delonix regia, Cacao tree, poinciana, cassia, litchi, potato, apple and pear.