Titan Beetle Fact File

Titanus giganteus

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

18cm

(7in)

Lifespan

Larvae 2+ years

Adult 3 weeks

Diet

Herbivore

Decaying Wood

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The titan beetle is considered one of two candidates for the world’s largest beetle with the other being the Hercules beetle. In total they can reach a length of up to 18cm (7in) long.

These insects are native to South America but are known from few records of adults with the larvae having never been recorded.

From some observations of boreholes and knowledge of similar species it is believed that larvae bore in to a tree where they will feed on decaying wood. They then pupate in to an adult. In this stage of their lifecycle they do not feed.

They are threatened by habitat loss as they require old growth trees to feed on.

Learn more about these amazing invertebrates by reading on below.

Appearance

What does the titan beetle look like?

At the front of their head is a strong mandible which can be used to break up wood. They are said to be powerful enough to snap a pencil in half.

Protruding from the head of the titan beetle are two antennae.

Across the abdomen this species has chestnut coloration. Their thorax, head, mandible and antennae are colored black.

As an insect they have three legs on either side of the body for a total of six. These have sharp spines which serve to scare off predators which may seek to attack them.

The titan beetle is among the world’s largest insect species and is the largest beetle to have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. It is debated whether this species or the Hercules beetle is the world’s largest beetle.

As an adult the titan beetle may measure up to 18cm (7in) long. Males and females share a similar appearance.

Diet

What does the titan beetle eat?


In their adult form the titan beetle does not feed. Their entire efforts during this time of their life are dedicated to breeding.

Juveniles will burrow in to decaying wood which is what they feed on.

Titan Beetle

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the titan beetle?

South America is the native home of the titan beetle. Here this species can be found in the following countries – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru Bolivia, the Guianas and Brazil.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the titan beetle live in?

These animals are found in rainforest habitats.

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Reproduction

How does the titan beetle produce its young?

A mate is found by flying around and sensing the air chemicals.

After larvae hatch from their egg they will burrow in to a tree. Here they spend the next couple of years developing ready to pupate in to an adult beetle.

Pupae have not been observed in the wild but boreholes have been found which are believed to be from this species. If this is a correct identification then it is estimated these larvae would reach 5.5cm (2in) long.

They are sexually mature after pupating in to an adult and will spend the few weeks of life as an adult beetle mating.

Behavior

What does the titan beetle do with its day?

These insects are able to fly. This behavior is most often used by males to to find a female with which they can mate. Most individuals which are seen are males which are attracted to lights.

Flight requires significant energy and as such is rarely undertaken.

As an adult this species is primarily nocturnal.

Titan Beetle

Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the titan beetle?

If threatened they are able to defend themselves using their strong jaw.

Before this they will hiss as a warning to their predator. Their hiss is produced by expelling air through the breathing holes which are located on the side of the body.

These invertebrates are threatened by the loss of their rainforest habitat.

Quick facts

The titan beetle is the only member of its genus, Titanus.

Titan Beetle

Credit: Muséum de Toulouse, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Tomasinelli, F., Yumenokaori and Knight, S., 2020. Bugs of the world. 1st ed. New York: Hachette Book Group

Smithsonian Institution. 2021. Titan Beetle. [online] Available at: <https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/snapshot/titan-beetle> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Animal Facts For Kids | Wild Facts. 2021. Facts about the Titan Beetle. [online] Available at: <http://www.wild-facts.com/2010/wild-fact-805-the-bigger-they-are-the-harder-they-fall-titan-beetle/> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Discover, K., 2021. Fun Facts About the World’s Biggest Beetle – Kids Discover. [online] Kids Discover. Available at: <https://kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/34551/> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Factzoo.com. 2021. Titan Beetle – World’s Largest Beetle. [online] Available at: <https://www.factzoo.com/insects/beetles/titan-beetle-worlds-largest.html> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Project Noah. 2021. Titan Beetle. [online] Available at: <https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/536082205> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Sr., T., 2021. Titan Beetle. [online] Our Breathing Planet. Available at: <https://www.ourbreathingplanet.com/titan-beetle/> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

Nhm.ac.uk. 2021. How big do beetles get?. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-is-the-biggest-beetle-in-the-world.html> [Accessed 16 November 2021].

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Similar Species

Hercules Beetle

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