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Goliath Beetles (Goliathus)

The Goliath beetles are among the largest beetles in the world named after Goliath, the famous Biblical giant. They are known for their strength, with some capable of lifting objects 850 times heavier than their own weight.

Goliath Beetle

List of Species Belonging to this Genus

  • Chief Goliath Beetle (Goliathus cacicus)
  • Royal Goliath Beetle (Goliathus regius)
  • Goliathus goliatus 
  • Goliathus kolbei 
  • Goliathus orientalis 
  • Goliathus albosignatus

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: Males: 2.4–4.3 in (6–11 cm) Females: 2.0–3.1 in (5–8 cm)

Color: Depending on the species, their elytra are a mix of black, brown, and white.

Other Characteristic Features: Male goliath beetles have a horn shaped like the letter Y, used to settle disputes with other males over food and mates. While females do not have horns, their heads are shaped like a wedge and are used to dig burrows where their eggs are laid.

Female Goliath Beetle
Male Goliath Beetle

Larva

Goliath beetle larvae range from pale yellow to off white in color. They consume more protein than most the larvae of most other beetles. In about four months, they will weigh more than 100 g and grow up to 5 inches.

Goliath Beetle Larvae

Pupa

After fully maturing, they will dig underground and begin to pupate. Pupation takes place inside a thin-walled cocoon constructed out of sandy soil. During this stage, the beetle begins its metamorphosis into an adult, with its tissues breaking down and re-organizing.

Egg

To ensure that the larvae have a sufficient source of food when growing up, females tend to lit their eggs in protein-rich soil.

Quick Facts

Lifespan3-6 months
DistributionSoutheast Africa
HabitatDense rainforests with a warm, tropical climate
PredatorsBirds and lizards
Seasons activeRainy periods from June to August and December to March
Host PlantsDecaying vegetation and wood
Diet of adultsFoods with high sugar content, such as rotting fruit and tree sap.
Goliath Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

As they primarily feed on rotting and decayed vegetation, they do not generally cause too much damage. The mandibles of the male however can deliver a powerful pinch if they feel threatened.

Picture of Goliath Beetle

Did You Know

  • Goliath beetles have been successfully reared in captivity, from larvae to adults. The larvae are fed pellets of cat and dog food high in protein to ensure their growth isn’t stunted.

Image Source: ourbreathingplanet.com, mediastorehouse.com, thoughtco.com, i.pinimg.com, facts.net, thoughtco.com

The Goliath beetles are among the largest beetles in the world named after Goliath, the famous Biblical giant. They are known for their strength, with some capable of lifting objects 850 times heavier than their own weight.

Goliath Beetle

List of Species Belonging to this Genus

  • Chief Goliath Beetle (Goliathus cacicus)
  • Royal Goliath Beetle (Goliathus regius)
  • Goliathus goliatus 
  • Goliathus kolbei 
  • Goliathus orientalis 
  • Goliathus albosignatus

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: Males: 2.4–4.3 in (6–11 cm) Females: 2.0–3.1 in (5–8 cm)

Color: Depending on the species, their elytra are a mix of black, brown, and white.

Other Characteristic Features: Male goliath beetles have a horn shaped like the letter Y, used to settle disputes with other males over food and mates. While females do not have horns, their heads are shaped like a wedge and are used to dig burrows where their eggs are laid.

Female Goliath Beetle
Male Goliath Beetle

Larva

Goliath beetle larvae range from pale yellow to off white in color. They consume more protein than most the larvae of most other beetles. In about four months, they will weigh more than 100 g and grow up to 5 inches.

Goliath Beetle Larvae

Pupa

After fully maturing, they will dig underground and begin to pupate. Pupation takes place inside a thin-walled cocoon constructed out of sandy soil. During this stage, the beetle begins its metamorphosis into an adult, with its tissues breaking down and re-organizing.

Egg

To ensure that the larvae have a sufficient source of food when growing up, females tend to lit their eggs in protein-rich soil.

Quick Facts

Lifespan3-6 months
DistributionSoutheast Africa
HabitatDense rainforests with a warm, tropical climate
PredatorsBirds and lizards
Seasons activeRainy periods from June to August and December to March
Host PlantsDecaying vegetation and wood
Diet of adultsFoods with high sugar content, such as rotting fruit and tree sap.
Goliath Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

As they primarily feed on rotting and decayed vegetation, they do not generally cause too much damage. The mandibles of the male however can deliver a powerful pinch if they feel threatened.

Picture of Goliath Beetle

Did You Know

  • Goliath beetles have been successfully reared in captivity, from larvae to adults. The larvae are fed pellets of cat and dog food high in protein to ensure their growth isn’t stunted.

Image Source: ourbreathingplanet.com, mediastorehouse.com, thoughtco.com, i.pinimg.com, facts.net, thoughtco.com

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