Some of the most interesting bugs in the world and bugs with horns. These are small rhinoceros-like bugs that have a hard shell, a hard look, and different colors.
Black bugs with horns are just as common as brown bugs with horns. However, these come in different types of colors as they live all around the world.
Why do Bugs Have Horns?
Bugs with horns are some of the most interesting types of bugs as they look unlike any other type of insect.
The horns aren’t just purely decorative as they can be used against all types of opponents.
- To fight with other males
While small, bugs with horns are territorial and aggressive towards other males. They can even overthrow other males on the same plant they are fighting for.
Bugs also use horns to fight over females. They flip or pray to adversaries, depending on the shape and size of the horn.
- To distinguish between males and females
Only male bugs have horns. Females have smooth heads without any horns. This is one of the methods male bugs quickly identify females and spot the males who might fight for the same female.
The following species of bugs with horns have a widespread distribution.
- To dig
Bugs with horns can lift objects a few times heavier than themselves. They use horns to easily lift and roll certain objects.
Many bugs with horns also dig in-ground or dung to avoid danger using horns.
1. Common Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes ulysses)
The Common Rhinoceros Beetle has a tall and wide horn and an all-black body.
Some call this species the Coconut beetle given it has a tropical origin.
These types of rhinoceros beetles use their horns against other males. They aren’t afraid to use their curved horns to flip other male beetles out of their way.
The species is known to feed on various plants. It can also consume nectar.
These types of beetles are wrongly associated with rotting plants as a food source as they are seen on decaying organic material.
However, it’s here they lay eggs as their larvae solely eat decaying plants.
Up to 140 white eggs can be deposited by this species in decaying plants, wood, or other decaying organic material.
2. European Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes nasicornis)
European Rhinoceros Beetles are most common in Europe but not in the United Kingdom.
This species is identified by its wide short body. It grows up to a size of 1.6 inches and it has a red to brown coloring.
Dark brown nuances are characteristic of its dorsal color as well as its horn.
Ventral coloring is lighter.
This species has a curved horn it can use when fighting other members of the species.
Only male European Rhinoceros Beetles have horns and only males fight for resources or mating partners.
You can find these types of beetles feed on various plants and wood but they lay eggs in rotting wood.
The eggs have a spherical shape and a white or ivory color.
Larvae of the European Rhinoceros Beetle is white with a length of up to 3.9 inches, longer than the adult beetle.
3. Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle (Allomyrina dichotoma)
These brown beetles are some of the most common types of bugs with horns in Japan, as their name implies.
They stand out from other horned bugs with their Y-shaped longhorn. This Y-shape or split horn is what makes make compare the species to the helmet of samurai warriors.
Growing to a size of just a few inches, these types of rhinoceros beetles use their horn to fight other males.
They place the horn under their opponents and quickly flip them up into the air and out of the way just before mating.
The mating period is the most important period in the life of the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle as these bugs die immediately after mating. Females get to lay eggs but die shortly afterward.
The life of these beetles is full of events but rather short as most Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles only live up to 3-4 months.
Their larvae live longer but stay well out of sight in the ground.
4. Hercules Beetle (Dynastes hercules)
Native to Central and South America, Hercules Beetles are of the Dynastes genus.
By some data, this is the largest horned beetle in the world. A male Hercules Beetle can measure up to 7 inches.
Furthermore, Hercules Beetles have 2 horns, not 1 horn like most other horned bugs.
The species has a prothorax horn and a thoracic horn.
As expected, these 2 horns are used by these bugs to fight males of the same species.
Each male positions itself so that it catches the other male between the 2 horns to lift and throw them in the air.
These are the males who later get the chance to mate with the females.
You can see Hercules Beetles around fruit trees and fruits. They like eating rotting fruit but they also eat fresh fruit on occasion.
5. Elephant Beetle (Megasoma elephas)
This scarab bug is part of the Dynastinae family of rhino beetles.
Male Elephant Beetles have 2 horns which they use against other males either to fight for food or females.
This family of beetles feeds on fruit.
The chance of seeing a live Elephant Beetle in its natural habitat is slim since it lives in the rainforest where it only comes out at night.
This species might be seen in captivity where high food availability can help it reach its maximum size of up to 4.7 inches.
In captivity, these beetles have also been observed both resting and eating tree bark.
6. Satanas Beetle (Dynastes satanas)
Satanas Beetle has a similar size and shape as the Elephant Beetle. This species grows to a maximum of 4.5 inches.
Unlike the Elephant Beetle, Satanas Beetle is an endangered species outside Bolivia.
Its presence in forests is reduced outside the country.
This species also has 2 horns. Satanas bugs stand out with their hairy horns which are atypical.
Yellow-golden hairs decorate the ventral side of its brown to black horns.
These hairs are seen all across its ventral side while its dorsal body has a shiny brown to black color.
In Bolivia, Satanas beetles feed on fallen fruit as well as on tree sap. They can also consume the nectar of various wildflowers that grow at high elevations.
7. Ox Beetle (Strategus aloeus)
Ox Beetles are some of the most common bugs with horns as pests in gardens. They feed on various plants and the root of plants in gardens.
Ox Beetles also feed on grass roots which makes them one of the most common bugs on the lawn you need to eliminate.
Some people even see them as bugs that look like dinosaurs given they have short horns.
This small horn isn’t reliable against other males but it helps Ox Beetles dig their way to the roots of plants in the garden.
It’s the larvae of Ox Beetles that are more damaging in the garden and on the lawn than the adults which prefer to feed on the plant itself rather than on its roots.
8. Atlas Beetle (Chalcosoma atlas)
Atlas Beetles have 3 strong horns. These beetles are named after Atlas, a titan in Greek mythology.
Atlas Beetles are some of the most aggressive types of bugs with horns. They fight amongst them as adults with the horns but even the larvae fight for food.
Male beetles are known to rely on their sharp 3 horns to fight for food with other females. Flipping is involved.
This strong shiny black bug is native to Asia.
9. Five-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle (Eupatorus gracilicornis)
Five-Horned Rhinoceros Beetles are named after their 5 horns.
These bugs have 4 horns of a short length and 1 central longer horn.
It can be found in regions of India, Thailand, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia where it feeds on fruit.
Five-Horned Rhinoceros Beetles lay eggs in wood. Rotten wood is preferred as this type of decaying organic material is food for emerging larvae.
Five-horned Rhinoceros Beetles grow to a minimum size of 50mm but they can reach a size of up to 100mm (including the horns).
10. Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)
Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetles have known pests of coconut, agave, pineapple, and other types of crops.
They bore into tree trunks using their small sharp horns.
Asiatic Rhinoceros Beetles are among the rare species where both males and females have horns. Still, the horns of males are larger which indicates they are also used in male-male fights.
Known as one of the most concerning pest bugs in Australia and across the world, this species is seen on a growing number of ornamental plants and trees as well.
You can identify it by its round shape and shiny all-black color.
11. Moellenkampi Beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi)
This large black bug grows to a maximum size of 4.3 inches. It’s a species native to Borneo with 3 horns.
Males use these horns to fight each other. They also use their legs in male-to-male fights.
Small Moellenkampi beetles avoid confrontation as much as possible. Even if smaller beetles also have horns, they prefer to move along undetected instead of fighting much larger beetles of the same species.
While these beetles can fly, they rarely rely on their wings for flying.
You cannot raise Moellenkampi Beetles as pet bugs. Males in the same enclosure fight each other daily.
The species is only seen outdoors in Borneo’s forests and on palm trees.