Elephant Beetle Facts
- Elephant Beetle forms the common name of a particular species of the scarab beetle. There remain only 3 known subspecies of this extremely large and powerful insect species.
- All varieties of this rather remarkable invertebrate currently known to exist appear to have evolved as Neotropical creatures.
- The larval form of this enormous insect takes an astonishingly long time, for an insect, at least, to mature into adult individuals.
- Ironically, the lifespan of the adult individuals only measures a fraction of that of the larval form.
- Believe it or not, a Pentagon-sponsored experiment once investigated the possibility of controlling the larval form of this insect remotely.
Elephant Beetle Physical Description
The amazing Elephant Beetle also presents a significant degree of sexual dimorphism. In this instance, the principle is evidenced in two ways. One of these happens to be in the variation of physical size between the genders.
Males often reach lengths of as much as 3 times the size of females. They also frequently attain a total length of as much as 4.75 in (12 cm).
Another form of sexual dimorphism appears in the fact that males possess two large horns, while the female remains hornless.
The legs and body of this giant among insects are typically black in color. However, the exoskeleton of the Elephant Beetle is covered with a thick layer of fine hairs which often give it a yellowish-brown color.
Species: M. elephas
Elephant Beetle Distribution, Habitat, and Behavior
The Elephant Beetle appears to be endemic to portions of Australia, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Within that territory range, they generally inhabit regions of rainforest, especially the mighty Amazon rainforest.
The larvae of this insect primarily occur in large, decaying logs. They sometimes take as long as 3 entire years to mature into adults, during which time they feed voraciously on the decaying wood.
The lifespan of the adult Elephant beetle is between 1-3 months. Adults prefer to feed on the sap of certain trees, as well as various fruits and tree bark. The species is primarily nocturnal in nature.
The IUCN presently lists all known subspecies as Threatened, due to habitat loss.