The Goliath Beetle – The World’s Heaviest Insect!

The larvae of Goliath beetles are the heaviest insects on Earth. The larvae can weigh up to 80-100 grams – although the adults are about half this weight, and outweighed by the Wetapunga.
The Goliath Beetle Goliathus Regius
The Goliath Beetle Goliathus Regius
photo from the Wikimedia Commons.

They are found in the tropical forests in Africa. Their favourite foods as adults are tree sap and fruit – but the larvae need a diet which has lots of protein. They can be kept as pets, and grown from egg on, for example, cat and dog food. The female beetles lay eggs. The males measure about 60–110 millimetres (2.4–4.3 in) and the females are about 50–80 millimetres (2.0–3.1 in). The females range from a dark brown to silky white, but the males are normally brown, white and black, or black and white.

There are five different species of Goliath Beetle. The largest are Goliathus Regius, Goliathus Goliatus and Goliathus Orientalis – their names mean the “Regal Goliath”, the “Goliath Goliath” and the “Eastern Goliath”. It is not clear which of these three is the biggest.

Goliath Beetles, like most beetles, have a very stiff and strong first pair of wings. These are not used for flying, but instead, protect their second pair of wings and their body. Only the second pair of wings is used for flying. Each of the beetle’s legs has a pair of sharp claws which are used to provide a strong grip when the beetles are climbing on tree trunks and branches. Males have a Y-shaped horn on the head which it uses in battles with other males. Females don’t have a horn. Instead, they have a wedge-shaped head which helps them make a burrow to lay their eggs in. They have very striking patterns on their bodies.

Beetles are mother nature’s janitors, because they like to eat dead plant material and dung too. We should be thankful to them for cleaning up the earth and helping to recycle “used material” and keep the earth clean. Although we might be disgusted to think about what beetles eat, it really is a useful job that they do.

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