Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's that on your nose?

This magnificent creature is a rhinoceros beetle – one of the largest and most fascinating beetles in Armenia. When I was a kid, first collecting bugs, then photographing them, I really wanted to find one, but never did. So, this here monster represents my childhood dream come true!

Some interesting facts about rhino beetles, gleaned from books and Internet: they are mostly useful creatures, their larva feeds on rotting wood, recycling it back into the ecosystem, only males have the horn and use it for territorial/food fights with other males. Females are larger, but with no horn.

What I find fascinating about these beetles, is that they are considered among the strongest creatures in the world. A rhino beetle is said to be able to carry 850 times its own weight!

The close relatives of this guy are the huge African rhinos, some of them as big as the palm of your hand! This European cousin is only about 5-6 cm (2-2.5 in) long. But he does have an imposing appearance, doesn’t he?