Rhinoceros beetle








Xylotrupes ulysses

Hercules beetle, unicorn beetle, horn beetle, elephant beetle


The family scarabaedae has the largest beetles, some growing up to 150 mm. Male beetles of this species possess two “horns”. One horn is on top of the head curving downwards and the lower horn comes from the thorax and curves upwards, almost meeting. Fortunately, they cannot bite or sting. The “horns” are solely for fighting other rhinoceros beetles. The females do not have the horns, but are otherwise very similar to the male. They are both black. When threatened the beetles rub their bodies against their wing casings, producing a hissing noise to discourage predators. The larvae are also large (70 mm), and are translucent white with a red tinge and have a black head. They are seen in a semi curled ‘C’ position.

Adult size: up to 60 mm

Out and about

These beetles are most active in the summer months and can be found all year round in tropical regions. They are nocturnal, hiding in logs or amongst leaf litter during the daytime. It is native to New Guinea and found in south-east Asia and Oceania. In Australia they can be found in Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern New South Wales coastal areas.

Reproduction and Life cycle

The females lay approximately 50 small white eggs in the soil where the larvae can live for many months before pupating.

To deter

To control

Plants to repel

Plants to attract

Poinciana trees will attract the adult beetles.


Why they are Beneficial
The larvae feed on rotting wood and vegetable matter, helping decomposition. Adult beetles feed on nectar, plant sap and sometimes ripe fruit. Over summer they will appear on Poinciana trees but do not seem to cause any damage to them.