Elephant Beetle (Megasoma elephas)

Pricing: Dead (spread, as pictured): $250
Geographic Range: Central America
View: Top View  Sex: Male
Size: (body length excluding horn) 5.5-8 cm


Image Copyright 2003
Barbara Strnadova


One of the most beautiful of the Neotropical rhinoceros beetles, Megasoma elephas is covered with a fine, velvety mat of hairs. Only males have the large, graceful horns, used to fight other males for feeding or breeding sites. Adults have been observed feeding on the sap of certain trees but their larvae must develop in rotten logs. It may take up to 4 years to reach maturity so large logs are needed. Decay is rapid in the tropics so small tree limbs will not support this species. Due to clear-cutting within it's range, this beetle is becoming scarce. As large trees are removed, breeding sites are harder and harder to find. Although collecting certainly adds to their mortality, habitat destruction is the main culprit. This species might fare better if listed as threatened.