The Goliath Beetle is one of the largest insects on Earth if measured in terms of size, bulk, and weight. It inhabits most tropical forest regions in Africa where they feed primarily on the sap from trees and various fruit.
Scientists know very little about the larval cycle in the wild.
The Goliath Beetle may attain a length of as much as 4.3 in (10.9 cm), for males. Females of the species are slightly smaller and can reach weights of up to 3.5 oz (99.2 gr) in their larval stage. As adults, however, they are only about half this weight.
The females range from a dark brown to silky white in color while the males are generally either brown and white, or black and white in color.
Goliath Beetle Physical Description
Like most beetles, the Goliath Beetle possesses a reinforced first pair of wings which serve as protective covers for their secondary pair of wings and abdomen. The second pair of wings is membranous and quite large. Only that pair is useful for flying. When not in use, they are kept folded beneath the first pair of wings.
Each of the legs of the Goliath Beetle ends in a pair of sharp claws which provide it with a strong grip for climbing on tree trunks and branches. Males have a large, Y-shaped horn on their head that serves principally as a pry bar in battles with other males over feeding sites or mates.
Females are hornless in this species. Makes sense. Instead of a horn, they possess a wedge-shaped head to assist in burrowing when they lay eggs.
Goliath Beetle Life Cycle
The larvae of the Goliath Beetle are unusual among beetles. They possess a greater need for high protein foods than most other genera.
Due to the great size they attain, even under the best of conditions, the larvae take several months to mature fully. The larval stage may reach a length of as much as 9.8 in (24.9 cm). Once their maximum size is reached, the larva constructs a thin-walled, hardened cell of loose dirt.
At this time it will undergo metamorphosis into its adult stage.
Once metamorphosis is complete, the Goliath Beetle will discard its pupal skin. The newly transformed adult beetle will then hibernate until the dry season ends. Once the rains begin, the beetle breaks open its cocoon locates a mate, and the entire life cycle starts over again. Who does not love rain?
The adult Goliath Beetle feeds on materials rich in sugar.
The adult lifespan is generally less than one year, in the wild. This is primarily due to environmental factors such as weather and predation.