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.
Common name: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
Scientific Name: Oryctes 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.