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Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis)

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

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Image Credit: Robert K. in Zion National Park
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The conspicuous and harmless Rhinoceros Beetle male is a large and easily recognizable beetle that doesn't let its fame go to its head.

Updated: 02/08/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The male Rhinoceros beetle is best identified by the presence of a long, black horn protruding from its head. This horn is used to keep other males away from a female. Females do not have a horn. The rounded pronotum is large. Both sexes have faint ridges on the black elytra. Dark red hairs stick out from under flake-like extensions on their legs. While larger than most beetles, Rhinoceros Beetles are smaller than the Eastern Hercules Beetle with its own pincer-like horns on the head.

Rhinoceros Beetles are not known to bite and are considered somewhat friendly. Adults may eat dead roots, and larvae are believed to feed on dead and decaying plant matter on the forest floor. This particular species of Rhinoceros Beetles is found in woodlands west of the Rocky Mountains. Ash tree roots are a favored food source for larvae. Adults are mostly active at night and may be attracted to lights.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Rhinoceros-Beetle

white ash tree roots
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Spiny / Spiky insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Scarabaeidae
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          Genus: Xyloryctes
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            Species: jamaicensis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Xyloryctes jamaicensis
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 21mm to 33mm (0.82" to 1.29")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown
Descriptors: fat; heavy; large; bumpy; horn; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 21mm (0.8in) and 33mm (1.3in)
Lo: 21mm
Md: 27mm
Hi: 33mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the 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 Rhinoceros Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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