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Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle - (Oryctes rhinoceros)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/9/2014

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
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The large Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle bores holes into coconut palm trees. A female will lay her fertilized eggs inside the hole. When the larvae hatch, they chew through the palm fronds of the tree, potentially killing the tree by starving it. Trees use their leaves to photosynthesize food from sunlight. Without leaves, trees have no way to nourish growth and they eventually die. Coconut trees are grown as a food, ornamental and cultural plant.

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. Animals already on Oahu have started eating adult beetles, which is a step toward eliminating this destructive pest.

Adult Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles eat other insects. The horns are seen on males and are used to battle other males for females. They have wings and are capable of flying.

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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) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: black, brown

General Description: 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.

NOTE: Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.
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