Rhinoceros Beetles
Strategus aloeus

A mated pair of Rhino Beetles

Male Rhino Beetle - 7-17-06

Female Rhino Beetle - 7-17-06

The Rhino Beetle is among the largest beetles in its habitat, but not in the world. That title goes to the Goliath Beetle from Africa, which can be up to 13cm long and weigh up to 100gms.

Only the males are horned. Females have dense brown hairs on their wing covers. The horns are so sharp and strong they can pierce exoskeleton. But these horns are used only for male combat and not to defend against predators. Many other horned beetles are sometimes called rhino beetles.

The average size of the Rhino Beetle is 3 to 5cm long.

Its preferred habitat is rotting logs in rainforests, low seepage areas and mulch piles. In all horned beetles, the huge spikes are used in combat rather than for defence against predators. These horns are quite strong and one beetle can decapitate another. The debate rages on about whether bigger horns mean greater mating success. Gilbert Arrow, a renowned beetle experts have concluded that in general, horns have no function and are actually a disadvantage in male combat, as it actually gets in way when defending his territory.

The female prefers rotting tree stumps and dung to lay her eggs. The males battle each other for such prime mate-attracting spots, using their horns to push rivals off. The adults drink nectar and sap or nibble on foliage and fallen fruit. They are more active at night.

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