Species Xyloryctes jamaicensis - Rhinoceros Beetle
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Scarabaeoidea (Scarab, Stag and Bess Beetles)
Family Scarabaeidae (Scarab Beetles)
Subfamily Dynastinae (Rhinoceros Beetles)
Genus Xyloryctes (Rhinoceros Beetles)
Species jamaicensis (Rhinoceros Beetle)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Scarabaeus jamaicensis Drury, 1773
Explanation of Names
Specific name means "of Jamaica", of course--but not clear if the species is actually found there.
Large reddish-brown scarab, mandibles small, sides fringed with hairs. Male has squared-off pronotum, large horn. The similar "Ox-beetle", Strategus antaeus
, has a horn projecting from each side of thorax in the male, and has no striations on elytra (2)
TX-GA-NH-NE / Ont. (and not in UT-AZ-w.TX / Mex.) (1)
eastern deciduous forests with sandy soils
Stephan (1967) observed adults feed and oviposit on or near roots of white ash trees, (Fraxinus americana
) (Oleaceae) (5)
Ratcliffe (1981) observed a large emergence of X. jamaicensis
in August in southeastern Nebraska, where a farmer had reported that thousands of these beetles were congregating on a white ash tree and then burrowing into the grass at the base of the tree. This had happened in the previous two years, to a lesser extent, on the same tree. In August 1981, Ratcliffe observed literally thousands of these beetles flying to this one tree beginning at dusk. After landing, the beetles crawled down the trunk and proceeded to burrow into the ground, presumably to feed or oviposit on or near the roots of the ash tree. The tree appeared healthy with no trunk or foliage injuries. Within 30 meters of the tree were two other ash trees, but these were untouched by the beetles. These beetles were so abundant that 40 liters of them could easily have been gathered in a few minutes. They were reported to have been even more numerous the evening before, when the trunk of the tree was black with them. (1)(3)
Breeding them is easy - put males & females together and nature runs its course. The larvae like rich soil with a mix of soft rotting wood and the life cycle takes a year or 2. The substrate should be 5 to six inches deep or slightly more for the females to lay and for the larvae to mature. You will likely need to add rotting wood every couple months or so to make sure the grubs have adequate food.
Adults seem to like apple. Most wild collected individuals do not seem to be "long lived" as adults (only a few weeks to months). We have had a few live > 1 year.
The other US species, Xyloryctes thestalus, occurs from Guatemala and southern Mexico northwards to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. There has always been the problem of how to differentiate the two species in their supposed area of sympatry in the American Southwest. In nearly all collections in the US, specimens from the Southwest are invariably identified as X. jamaicensis.
Ratcliffe, B.C. 1981. Xyloryctes jamaicensis (Drury) in Nebraska. Scarabaeus No. 4: 8.
Seastedt, T.R. 1983. The rhinoceros beetle, Xyloryctes jamaicensis
Drury (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): a locally abundant detritivore of a Kansas riparian forest. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 56: 543-546. JSTOR
Stephan, K. 1967. Notes on the ecology of Xyloryctes jamaicensis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in southern Ontario. Michigan Entomologist 1: 133-134.
Arnett et al. illustrate male, female, fig. 439, page 179 (2)
Arnett--illustrates male, fig. 24.73, p. 420 (5)
Borror and White illustrate male, p. 195 (6)
Dillon and Dillon, p. 550, plate 53 (7)
Harpootlian, p. 112, fig. 225 (8)
Ratcliffe and Paulsen, pp. 460-462, fig. 639 (3)
|2.||How to Know the Beetles|
Ross H. Arnett, N. M. Downie, H. E. Jaques. 1980. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
|3.||The Scarabaeoid Beetles of Nebraska|
Brett C. Ratcliffe & M.J. Paulsen. 2008. University of Nebraska State Museum, Vol 22, 570 pp.
|4.||Insects of North Carolina|
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
|6.||A Field Guide to Insects|
Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson. 1998. Houghton Mifflin Co.
|7.||A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America|
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
|8.||Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) of South Carolina|
Phillip J. Harpootlian. 2001. Clemson University Public Service.
|9.||The Beetle Fauna of Rhode Island, an Annotated Checklist|
Derek Sikes. 2004. Rhode Island Natural History Survey.