Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle - (Oryctes rhinoceros)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 5/7/2015

The invasive Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, originally from Asia, has moved to Hawaii. Their fondness for coconut palms could threaten a tropical staple.

Picture of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle bores holes into the young, upper fronds of coconut palm trees. They drink the sap that is released by cutting through the soft plant tissue. This damage reduces coconut production and could possibly kill younger trees. They are also pests on a variety of other plants: pineapples, bananas, papayas, dates and taro. Larvae feed on mulch and plant debris. The yellowish grubs are large, growing up to 4 inches long. The larger horns on adults are seen on males while females have smaller, shorter horns.

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is native to Asia, but migrated to the Pacific Island of Guam sometime in 2007. It has done significant damage to coconut tree populations there. The beetle has now been found on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. Exactly how the beetle arrived on the island is still unclear. Efforts to find, control and, hopefully, eradicate it from the island are now underway. Other Pacific islands infested with the exotic beetle have used deliberate fungal and viral infections to kill adults and stop breeding. Lures and a pest hotline for reporting infestations are a step toward eliminating this destructive pest.

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Category: Beetle
Common name: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
Scientific Name: Oryctes rhinoceros

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Coleoptera
      Family: Scarabaeidae
       Genus: Oryctes
        Species: rhinoceros

Adult Size (Length): 40mm to 60mm (1.57in to 2.36in)

Identifying Colors: black, brown

Additional Descriptors: large, horn, hairy, flying

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Hawaii

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.