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Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle



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Image Credit: Hawaii Dept of Agriculture website (public domain)
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The invasive Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle has moved to Hawaii and its fondness for coconut palms could threaten an island staple.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The hefty Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is large and black. An adult male has large horns while a female has smaller, shorter horns. It bores holes into the young, upper fronds of coconut palm trees. It then drinks the sap that is released by the plant's soft tissue. This frond damage reduces coconut production and could kill younger trees. Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles are pests on a variety of other common island plants such as pineapples, bananas, papayas, dates and taro. Larvae feed on mulch and plant debris. The yellowish grubs are also large, growing up to 4 inches long.

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 finding and eliminating this new North American destructive pest.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Scarabaeidae
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          Genus: Oryctes
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            Species: rhinoceros
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Oryctes rhinoceros
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 60mm (1.57" to 2.36")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, brown
Descriptors: large, horn, hairy, flying, harmful
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 40mm (1.6in) and 60mm (2.4in)
Lo: 40mm
Md: 50mm
Hi: 60mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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