Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle

The Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) is a small insect in the Scarabaeidae family of scarab beetles. It is also known as the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle or the Coconut Palm Rhinoceros Beetle.

The Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle is glossy black with a blue-green sheen, and a large horn, like the horn of a rhinoceros. It has black wing cases, called elytra. Each wing case (elytron) is covered with white wax and a number of small nodules or lumps. Its antennae are short. It has spikey hairs on its six legs.

Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle

It grows to about 3 centimetres (1 inch) long. 

The Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle is native Asia and some Pacific islands. It is an invasive species in other countries. 

It prefers tropical regions and lives in the fronds (leaves) of palm trees and coconut trees. 

It eats plant roots, leaves, buds, and shoots. The beetle kills the palm trees, particularly newly-planted ones, by eating the growing leaf bud.

The female lays small eggs in the leaves of palm trees. The eggs hatch into larvae, which become pupae. Each pupa metamorphoses into an adult beetle. 

The larvae (grubs) do not damage the trees or crops. Instead, they live in dead and decaying leaves and tree trunks during the metamorphosis stage. When the larvae become adult beetles, they move to the frond of palm trees. 

Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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