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European Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes nasicornis)

European rhinoceros beetle is a flying beetle species, being a part of the scarab (Scarabaeidae) family and rhinoceros beetles (Dynastinae) subfamily. It has a vast and extensive region, covering a significant part of Northern Europe except the British Isles, being the only one in its subfamily to inhabit that region. It even occupies parts of Western Asia and North Africa.

European Rhinoceros Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Scarabaeidae
  • Genus: Oryctes
  • Scientific name: Oryctes nasicornis

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 20 – 40 mm (0.79 – 1.57 inches); some can grow up to 47 mm (1.9 inches)

Color: They have a darkened, glazy appearance, with reddish-brown elytra and a more darkened head and pronotum. One could even spot red, long hair covering their body’s undersides as well as their legs.

Other Characteristic Features: When it comes to their bodily features, sexual dimorphism is prominent. The male species has long and curved horns that, however, remain absent in their female counterparts.

European rhinoceros Beetle Female

Larva

The larva grows to approximately 60 -100 mm (2.4 – 3.9 inches), mostly around rotten wood stumps and sawdust.

European Rhinoceros Beetle Larva

Pupa

The pupa has a yellowish-brown or reddish body with a segmented appearance. It takes about 2 – 4 years for the larva to mature into an adult after passing through the pupal stage.

Egg

The small eggs, round or oval, are mostly laid in burrows in the decayed wood from where they hatch into larva

European Rhinoceros Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Lifespan2 – 3 weeks on an average
DistributionThroughout Northern Europe up to the Mediterranean Basin, Western Asia, and parts of North Africa
HabitatLarvae: Rotting wooden stumps and sawdust
Adults: Woody areas
Common PredatorsAnt, rats, other beetle species; larvae are parasitized by the mammoth wasp species
Seasons active fromJune – July
Host PlantsAlexandrian laurel, breadfruit, banana, sugarcane, pineapple, mango
Diet  of larvae and adultsLarvae: Decayed plant matter
Adults: They do not feed
Oryctes nasicornis

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The European rhinoceros beetle bores into the host plant’s crown damaging the tissues to a great extent.  

Did You Know

  • The European Rhinoceros Beetle has about 19 subspecies in all, some of them being Oryctes nasicornis chersonensis, Oryctes nasicornis corniculatus, Oryctes nasicornis mariei, and Oryctes nasicornis polonicus.
  • Dim, a character in the 1998 Disney film a Bug’s Life, is a European Rhinoceros Beetle.
  • Its big size makes it one among the largest European beetle species.
Pictures of European Rhinoceros Beetle

European rhinoceros beetle is a flying beetle species, being a part of the scarab (Scarabaeidae) family and rhinoceros beetles (Dynastinae) subfamily. It has a vast and extensive region, covering a significant part of Northern Europe except the British Isles, being the only one in its subfamily to inhabit that region. It even occupies parts of Western Asia and North Africa.

European Rhinoceros Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 20 – 40 mm (0.79 – 1.57 inches); some can grow up to 47 mm (1.9 inches)

Color: They have a darkened, glazy appearance, with reddish-brown elytra and a more darkened head and pronotum. One could even spot red, long hair covering their body’s undersides as well as their legs.

Other Characteristic Features: When it comes to their bodily features, sexual dimorphism is prominent. The male species has long and curved horns that, however, remain absent in their female counterparts.

European rhinoceros Beetle Female

Larva

The larva grows to approximately 60 -100 mm (2.4 – 3.9 inches), mostly around rotten wood stumps and sawdust.

European Rhinoceros Beetle Larva

Pupa

The pupa has a yellowish-brown or reddish body with a segmented appearance. It takes about 2 – 4 years for the larva to mature into an adult after passing through the pupal stage.

Egg

The small eggs, round or oval, are mostly laid in burrows in the decayed wood from where they hatch into larva

European Rhinoceros Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Lifespan2 – 3 weeks on an average
DistributionThroughout Northern Europe up to the Mediterranean Basin, Western Asia, and parts of North Africa
HabitatLarvae: Rotting wooden stumps and sawdust
Adults: Woody areas
Common PredatorsAnt, rats, other beetle species; larvae are parasitized by the mammoth wasp species
Seasons active fromJune – July
Host PlantsAlexandrian laurel, breadfruit, banana, sugarcane, pineapple, mango
Diet  of larvae and adultsLarvae: Decayed plant matter
Adults: They do not feed
Oryctes nasicornis

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The European rhinoceros beetle bores into the host plant’s crown damaging the tissues to a great extent.  

Did You Know

  • The European Rhinoceros Beetle has about 19 subspecies in all, some of them being Oryctes nasicornis chersonensis, Oryctes nasicornis corniculatus, Oryctes nasicornis mariei, and Oryctes nasicornis polonicus.
  • Dim, a character in the 1998 Disney film a Bug’s Life, is a European Rhinoceros Beetle.
  • Its big size makes it one among the largest European beetle species.
Pictures of European Rhinoceros Beetle

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