For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rhino Beetle

Life has a way of sometimes smacking you in the mouth to keep you in line. It always reminds me of the lines from the film “Man of La Mancha” (Peter O’Toole and Sophie Loren) when he speaks about “life as it is, and not as it should be”. How sad, cold and cruel life can be! One of the small pleasures (for me) is being able to get into the bush and find peace and quiet again no matter what life throws at me.

Have you thought you were being stalked? That was how I felt when I saw this Rhino Beetle. Thank goodness he is still a young one and only about half an inch in length.
The rhinoceros beetles or rhino beetle are a subfamily (Dynastinae) of beetles in the family of scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae). They are among the largest of beetles, and their common name refers to the characteristic horns borne by the males of most species in the group. The male beetles use their horns in mating battles against other males.
Their larval stage is long, several years in some species. The larvae feed on rotten wood while the adults feed on nectar, plant sap and fruit. Rhinoceros beetle larvae are sometimes fried and eaten as a bush delicacy. Rhinoceros beetles are popular pets in Asia. They are clean, easy to maintain, and safe to handle. In Asian countries, male beetles are also used for gambling fights. Insect fighting is a blood sport involving insects. It is practised in areas in China, Japan, and Thailand. There are people who train and fight their insects against other insects in underground fighting arenas.... since they naturally compete for female beetles with the winner knocking the other off a log.
Rhinoceros beetles are also the strongest animals on the planet in relation to their own size. They can lift up to 850 times their own weight. To put this into perspective, if a human of average height and weight had the strength of the rhinoceros beetle, he would likely be able to lift a 65 ton object (e.g. an M1 Abrams tank).

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