Titan beetle

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Titan beetle
Titanus giganteus MHNT.jpg
Titanus giganteus
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Infraorder: Cucujiformia
Family: Cerambycidae
Subfamily: Prioninae
Tribe: Prionini
Genus: Titanus
Audinet-Serville, 1832
T. giganteus
Binomial name
Titanus giganteus
(Linnaeus, 1771)


  • PercnopterusGistel, 1848


  • Cerambyx giganteusLinnaeus, 1771
  • Prionus giganteus
  • Percnopterus giganteus

The titan beetle (Titanus giganteus) is a Neotropical longhorn beetle, the sole species in the genus Titanus, and one of the largest known beetles.



The titan beetle is one of the largest beetles, with the largest reliable measured specimen being 16.7 cm (6.6 in) in length, [1] comparable to such beetles as the giant Fijian long-horned beetle, Xixuthrus heros (15 cm (5.9 in)), and the Hercules beetle, Dynastes hercules , in which giant males occasionally can grow up to 17.5 cm (6.9 in), [2] but the Hercules beetle males have an enormous horn on the pronotum or thorax making up around half of its total length. As such, the body of the Titan beetle is considerably larger than that of the Hercules beetles. The short, curved and sharp mandibles are known to snap pencils in half and cut into human flesh. [3] Adult titan beetles do not feed,[ citation needed ] searching instead for mates via pheromones while in flight. [4]

The larvae have never been found, but are thought to feed inside wood and may take several years to reach full size before they pupate. These beetles are also thought to feed on decaying wood below the ground. Boreholes thought to be created by titan beetle larvae seem to fit a grub over two inches wide and perhaps as much as one foot long. A famous "life-sized" photograph of a putative larva of this beetle appeared in National Geographic magazine, filling an entire page, [3] but it turned out to be of a different species of beetle, possibly Macrodontia cervicornis .

The adults defend themselves by hissing in warning and biting, and have sharp spines, as well as strong jaws. The adult beetles central nervous system structure shown that the cephalic ganglion is composed of the central brain and optic lobes that connect to the sub esophageal ganglion (SOG). This is a common structure for diurnal insects. The size of the size sensory integration were larger complex eyes that have structured large optic and antennal lobes. [5] [3]


It is known from the rain forests of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Guianas, and north-central Brazil.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beetle</span> Order of insects

Beetles are insects that form the order Coleoptera, in the superorder Holometabola. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, elytra, distinguishing them from most other insects. The Coleoptera, with about 400,000 described species, is the largest of all orders, constituting almost 40% of described insects and 25% of all known animal species; new species are discovered frequently, with estimates suggesting that there are between 0.9 and 2.1 million total species. Found in almost every habitat except the sea and the polar regions, they interact with their ecosystems in several ways: beetles often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Some species are serious agricultural pests, such as the Colorado potato beetle, while others such as Coccinellidae eat aphids, scale insects, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects that damage crops.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stag beetle</span> Family of insects

Stag beetles are a family of about 1,200 species of beetles in the family Lucanidae, currently classified in four subfamilies. Some species grow to over 12 centimetres, but most to about 5 cm (2 in).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Longhorn beetle</span> Family of beetles characterized by long antennae

The longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae), also known as long-horned or longicorns, are a large family of beetles, with over 35,000 species described. Most species are characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle's body. In various members of the family, however, the antennae are quite short and such species can be difficult to distinguish from related beetle families such as the Chrysomelidae. The scientific name of this beetle family goes back to a figure from Greek mythology: after an argument with nymphs, the shepherd Cerambus was transformed into a large beetle with horns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Woodworm</span> Wood-eating beetle larva

A woodworm is the wood-eating larva of many species of beetle. It is also a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item by these larvae.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cockchafer</span> Species of scarab beetle

The common cockchafer, colloquially called the Maybug, Maybeetle, or doodlebug, is a species of scarab beetle belonging to the genus Melolontha native to Europe. It is one of several closely related and morphologically similar species of Melolontha called cockchafers, alongside Melolontha hippocastani. The adults and larvae feed on plants, and are regarded as serious agricultural pests of crops such as grasses and fruit trees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Histeridae</span> Family of beetles

Histeridae is a family of beetles commonly known as clown beetles or hister beetles. This very diverse group of beetles contains 3,900 species found worldwide. They can be easily identified by their shortened elytra that leaves two of the seven tergites exposed, and their geniculate (elbowed) antennae with clubbed ends. These predatory feeders are most active at night and will fake death if they feel threatened. This family of beetles will occupy almost any kind of niche throughout the world. Hister beetles have proved useful during forensic investigations to help in time of death estimation. Also, certain species are used in the control of livestock pests that infest dung and to control houseflies. Because they are predacious and will even eat other hister beetles, they must be isolated when collected.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hercules beetle</span> Species of beetle

The Hercules beetle is a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the rainforests of southern Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Lesser Antilles. It is the longest extant species of beetle in the world, and is also one of the largest flying insects in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dynastinae</span> Subfamily of beetles

Dynastinae or rhinoceros beetles are a subfamily of the scarab beetle family (Scarabaeidae). Other common names – some for particular groups of rhinoceros beetles – include Hercules beetles, unicorn beetles or horn beetles. Over 1500 species and 225 genera of rhinoceros beetles are known.

<i>Dynastes tityus</i> Species of beetle

Dynastes tityus, the eastern Hercules beetle, is a species of rhinoceros beetle native to the Eastern United States. The adult's elytra are green, gray or tan, with black markings, and the whole animal, including the male's horns, may reach 60 mm (2.4 in) in length. The larvae feed on decaying wood from various trees.

<i>Goliathus</i> Genus of beetles

The Goliath beetles are any of the five species in the genus Goliathus. Goliath beetles are among the largest insects on Earth, if measured in terms of size, bulk and weight. They are members of subfamily Cetoniinae, within the family Scarabaeidae. Goliath beetles can be found in many of Africa's tropical forests, where they feed primarily on tree sap and fruit. Little appears to be known of the larval cycle in the wild, but in captivity, Goliathus beetles have been successfully reared from egg to adult using protein-rich foods such as commercial cat and dog food. Goliath beetles measure from 60–110 millimetres (2.4–4.3 in) for males and 50–80 millimetres (2.0–3.1 in) for females, as adults, and can reach weights of up to 80–100 grams (2.8–3.5 oz) in the larval stage, though the adults are only about half this weight. The females range from a dark chestnut brown to silky white, but the males are normally brown/white/black or black/white.

<i>Macrodontia cervicornis</i> Species of beetle

Macrodontia cervicornis, also known as the sabertooth longhorn beetle, is one of the largest beetles, if one allows for the enormous mandibles of the males, from which it derives both of the names in its binomen: Macrodontia means "long tooth", and cervicornis means "deer antler". Measurements of insect length normally exclude legs, jaws, or horns, but if jaws are included, the longest known specimen of M. cervicornis is 17.7 cm; the longest known specimen of Dynastes hercules, a beetle species with enormous horns, is 17.5 cm, and the longest known beetle excluding either jaws or horns is Titanus giganteus, at 16.7 cm.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elephant beetle</span> Species of beetle

The elephant beetle is a member of the family Scarabaeidae and the subfamily Dynastinae. Elephant beetles are Neotropical rhinoceros beetles.

<i>Dorcus titanus</i> Giant stag beetle of the family Lucanidae

Dorcus titanus is a beetle of the family Lucanidae. It was described by Jean Baptiste Boisduval in 1835. Huang and Chen (2013) separated Serognathus from Dorcus by representing morphological characters and DNA analysis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mandible (arthropod mouthpart)</span> Pair of mouthparts used either for biting or cutting and holding food

The mandible of an arthropod is a pair of mouthparts used either for biting or cutting and holding food. Mandibles are often simply called jaws. Mandibles are present in the extant subphyla Myriapoda, Crustacea and Hexapoda. These groups make up the clade Mandibulata, which is currently believed to be the sister group to the rest of arthropods, the clade Arachnomorpha.

<i>Xanthocryptus novozealandicus</i> Species of wasp

Xanthocryptus novozealandicus, the lemon tree borer parasite, is a wasp in the family Ichneumonidae. It is a native insect of New Zealand. It is also found in Australia and New Guinea. Females hunt for larvae of wood-boring beetles around March, including the lemon tree borer, a native cerambycid that tunnels into citrus trees, grapes and many native species. When a suitable host is found, the female pushes her ovipositor through the wood and injects her eggs into the grub. This has the incidental benefit of helping to control some pests. X. novozealandicus prefers to prey on second year lemon tree borer larvae. This specific parasite prefers to prey on larger second year larvae due to its larger size.

<i>Thermonectus marmoratus</i> Species of beetle

Thermonectus marmoratus is a relatively colorful North American species of diving beetle known by the common names sunburst diving beetle and yellow-spotted diving beetle. The behavior of this diving beetle has been compared to a scuba diver, since it carries with it a bubble of air as it dives down into the water. Its aquatic larval stage was the first ever recorded use of bifocals in the animal world. The beetle uses in its principal eyes two retinas and two distinct focal planes that are substantially separated, in the manner of bifocals to switch their vision from up-close to distance, for easy and efficient capture of their prey.

<i>Dinapate wrightii</i> Species of beetle

Dinapate wrightii, also known as the giant palm borer, is the largest species in the beetle family Bostrichidae, and sometimes a pest of palm trees, especially Washingtonia filifera and Washingtonia robusta. It is native to extreme southern California and possibly Baja California, and only commonly recorded from the Coachella Valley.

<i>Cyclocephala lurida</i> Species of beetle (southern masked chafer)

Cyclocephala lurida, the southern masked chafer, is a species of beetle in the family Scarabaeidae which is native to the southeastern United States. It is a brown beetle with a black head, with an adult length of 10 to 14 mm. The adult beetles cause no harm, but the eggs are laid underground and the developing larvae feed on grass roots and can kill turf under dry conditions.

<i>Oxynopterus mucronatus</i> Species of beetle

Oxynopterus mucronatus, sometimes known as the giant click beetle, is a species of click beetle from tropical Southeast Asia. Their larvae are specialized predators of termites.


  1. Williams, David M. (2001). "Chapter 30: Largest". In Walker, T.J (ed.). University of Florida Book of Insect Records.
  2. Ratcliffe BC, Cave RD. 2015. The dynastine scarab beetles of the West Indies (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum 28: l-346.
  3. 1 2 3 Zahl, P. A. (1959): Giant insects of the Amazon. Natl. Geogr. Mag. 115 (5): 632-669.
  4. "Titan Beetle". Smithsonian. May 31, 2011.
  5. Dvořáček, Jiří; Sehadová, Hana; Weyda, František; Tomčala, Aleš; Hejníková, Markéta; Kodrík, Dalibor (2020). "First Comprehensive Study of a Giant among the Insects, Titanus giganteus: Basic Facts from Its Biochemistry, Physiology, and Anatomy". Insects. 11 (2): 120. doi: 10.3390/insects11020120 . PMC   7073837 . PMID   32059419.