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Xylotrupes gideon

  • Live collection
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal, Jacques de Tonnancour

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Description

Xylotrupes gideon are among the world’s largest beetles; the males can be 6 cm long.

The males may be a shiny reddish brown, dark brown or completely black. They have two bifid (forked) horns. The first curves upward and projects from the insect’s head. The second, larger, horn is an extension of the pronotum (the front part of the thorax).

Young males are lighter in colour and have smaller horns.

The females have no horns and are generally a dull black.

Country of origin

Malaysia
French name
Scarabée ou scarabée rhinocéros
Scientific name
Xylotrupes gideon
English name
Siamese rhinoceros beetle
Class
Insecta
Order
Coleoptera
Family
Scarabaeidae
Living environment

Diet

The larvae feed mostly on rotting wood.

The adults prefer to feed on sugar cane and bamboo, but also on the bark of forest and ornamental trees. They can cause minor damage to certain fruit crops, like litchis and pineapples.

Habitat

They are often found in groups on tree trunks and branches.

Geographic distribution

Southeast Asia, Australia and the Salomon Islands

Ecological role

They eat rotting plant matter, helping to maintain the balance of nature in their habitat.

Special behaviour

Despite their fearsome appearance, these beetles are harmless.

They are nocturnal, and are attracted to light.

When the adults are threatened, they make a sort of hissing sound.

Interesting facts

Status

The species is common in its range.

Interesting facts and curiosities

Fights staged between these beetles are popular in Thailand. After catching them, their owners train them to become stronger and more aggressive. To win the fight, one beetle must lift the other with its horns.

At the Insectarium

They are fed on bananas and fruit juice and jelly.

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