Dynastinae or rhinoceros beetles are a subfamily of the scarab beetle family. Other common names – some for particular groups of rhino beetles – are for example Hercules beetles, unicorn beetles or horn beetles. Over 300 species of rhinoceros beetles are known. Many rhinoceros beetles are well known for their bizarre shapes and large sizes. Some famous species are, for example, the Atlas beetle, common rhinoceros beetle, elephant beetle, European rhinoceros beetle, Hercules beetle, Japanese rhinoceros beetle or, ox beetle and the unicorn beetle. Rhinoceros beetles are popular as pets in parts of Asia, in part due to their being clean, easy to maintain and safe to handle. Also in Asia, male beetles are used for gambling fights. Since males naturally have the tendency to fight each other for the attention of females, they are the ones used for battle. To get the two male beetles to lock in combat, a female beetle or a small noisemaker is used to duplicate the female's mating call.
Some species can become major pests, e.g., in tree plantations. Usually though, beetle population densities are not as high as in some other pest insects, and food trees which are typically already sick or dying from some other cause are preferred. Some species' larvae, however, will attack healthy trees or even root vegetables, and when they occur in large numbers, can cause economically significant damage.
Dr. MinJun Kim, leading a team of engineers in National Science Foundation-funded research, examined the function and aerodynamics of the Allomyrina dichotoma beetle, with the help of researchers in Drexel University's Mechanical Engineering Department and in collaboration with Konkuk University in South Korea. Rhinoceros beetles could play a big part in the next generation of aircraft design. Thank you Natalia for this lovely maxicard from Belarus.