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rhinoceros beetle

Resident of a commune: Rhinoceros beetle

Looking at the rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis) you know what to expect! The males of the rhinoceros beetle carry a backward curved horn on their head in order to beat conspecifics, in the struggle for the female.

I found this specimen in a habitat tree together with a female and the rival.

Male European rhinoceros beetle

Male European rhinoceros beetle

Male specimens like the one up here in the picture are about the size of a rectangular Lego brick (1,18 in). The horn can be up to 0,39 in long.

It is a sexually dimorpic species. The male's head is topped by a long curved horn (hence its common name), while the females have no horns.

Female European rhinoceros beetle

Female European rhinoceros beetle

The females are slightly larger and fit next to a tealight (1.57 in).
With them, the horn is only slightly indicated.
As beetle mothers, they are very demanding and do not lay their eggs everywhere. Above all, it should be cuddly warm, because the beetles and their larvae like this very much.
The technical term for this is thermophilia (from ancient Greek θερμός thermós "warm" and φίλος phílos "loving").
If a garden is ecologically managed, it may be that larvae, so-called grubs can also be found in the domestic compost. Originally, the beetles were increasingly found in deciduous trees with a high proportion of deadwood, but have become well accustomed to the proximity to humans.

The life of the European rhinoceros beetle

The reason why the beetle can no longer be found too often is the destruction of its natural habitat.
Because he likes decomposed substrate inside old trees, or coarse woody debris and  rotting wood stumps very much, habitats in old trees are rare. Such valuable trees are often simply removed from an exaggerated sense of order.
If the female has decided on a male, the eggs are laid sometime during the summer. After that, the larva passes through 3 larval stages. This means that the grubs are getting bigger and bigger as they feed on mulm or nutrient-rich plant parts inside the tree or compost.
The "finished" beetles need about 2-5 years until they hatch from the moment of egg laying.
If the home, e.g. the tree, should be felled in the meantime without having been examined for such important habitat sites beforehand, the complete brood of the female is lost.
If the finished beetles hatch because they were lucky enough to grow up in a recognizable habitat tree, they have several weeks to look for a partner and then the cycle starts all over again.
In this ash leaved-maple they have the best chances and I was very happy to have discovered it!
That's why it's so important to draw attention to habitat trees... endangered species could live here.

All that is missing is a sign so that EVERYONE can recognize it... and can protect it!


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