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The Foods for Rhinoceros Beetles in the Rain Forest

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The rhinoceros beetle family (Dynastinae) has more than 300 species. All are known for their large size, distinguishing characteristics and superior strength. Regardless of the breadth of beetle variations, the different species consume the same foods to sustain themselves.

The Rhinoceros Beetle

Due to their large size, rhinoceros beetles have many interesting characteristics. Some of the largest species may grow to over 6 inches, with the average size being about 3 inches. Their exoskeletons are very tough, allowing them to fight enemies rather than simply become prey. Horned males use the large protrusions as weapons during these fights, and they use them for digging. Capable of carrying more than 850 times their own weight, these beetles are among the strongest known beetles. Nocturnal creatures, rhinoceros beetles are extremely attracted to light sources.

Rhinocerous Beetle Habitat

Though capable of being raised in captivity, the rhinoceros beetle is typically found in rain forests. Costa Rica and the Amazon Basin are the two most heavily populated locations of this beetle, which thrives in warm and humid climates. It is also found in other heavily forested regions near the equator. Though most of the beetle's life is spent on the rain forest floor, he sometimes climbs into trees and other plants to find food.

Food for Larvae

The first stage of life for this beetle is larval. This stage typically lasts for 12 to 18 months. During this time the larvae undergo changes in size and shape before reaching their pupal stage. Food sources for rhinoceros beetle larvae include rotting wood, leaves and the contents of decomposing soil. As the material passes through the larvae, it speeds up the natural process of recycling in the rain forest. As these beetles feed on dead and dying trees, they leave healthy vegetation to flourish.

Adult Food Sources

After emerging as adults, rhinoceros beetles begin the hunt for food. No longer feeding on decaying wood and plants, adults prefer other options. Fruits and tree sap are top choices for these beetles, but they also ingest nectar from the various plants in their habitat. As adults, they do not eat as much as they did throughout the larval stage, though they eat often. Eating often allows rhinoceros beetles the ability to store fat, which in turn makes it possible for them to fly greater distances.