Lifescapes Gallery

31 / Jul / 2013
Horn OK Please!
Rhinoceros Beetle, Kabini Photograph: Sanket Reddy Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Horn OK Please!

For those of us brought up on a literary repast of captions adorning signboards and those quirky lines on the backs of trucks that own our highways, the title of this story will bring about a strong sense of déjà vu. As it will, for our naturalist cousins in Kaziranga, home to the great Indian Rhino, a ‘one-horned’ armoured car on legs that rules the jungle highway. In the sylvan biosphere of Kabini too, you’ll find that the owner of this tag is a Rhino, albeit a version that flies. Just a few million kilos lighter than his Kaziranga cousin, the Rhinocerous Beetle is also referred to as the Hercules Beetle for his muscularity, or the Unicorn Beetle. This is one Rhino however, that doesn’t send a shiver up the spine, and is favoured as a pet across Asia. In fact, despite his size and those intimidating horns on his thorax and central thorax, he is harmless to humans and doesn’t bite or sting. These horns, however, aren’t mere ornaments; they double up as implements for digging, and real weapons that he uses to fight off other males during the mating season. In fact, these Rhinos are favourites of punters who pit one male against another, and place large bets on the outcome. They aren’t particularly strong flyers, but get along on a pair of thick wings overlapping a pair of membranous wings. Surprisingly, though, a research team of experts, funded by the US National Science Foundation, believes that the Rhino Beetle may be significant in the next generation of aircraft design. So the next time you decide to fly down to our resort, you may give the Jumbo Jet a miss and fly a Rhino Jet instead. Though, chances are, you’ll keep looking over your shoulders, wondering if your plane is showing signs of locking horns with another Rhino in the skies!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 at 6:34 am and is filed under Insects . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Dr.U.Ravi Rao says:

    I looked for a Rhino and found a giant sized beetle!
    Thanks to Rajesh and Sanket, my entomology knowledge has improved. I appreciate Orange county giving us these stories with me.

  2. Subhash Bandyopadhyay says:

    Thanks for sending the beautiful photographs with the write up. We look forward to your next mail.

  3. Subbaiah says:

    Unfortunately, the Rhinocerous beetle is a major pest of coconut trees , burrowing into the soft tender growing tip killing the tree . In Africa , locals are paid a price for each dead beetle because of the damage they cause .

  4. Alok Mehta says:

    Very informative and very well worded piece!

  5. Raja Gopaal Iyer Hariharan says:


  6. Shilpi Kochhar says:

    Thnx for sending regular mailers!! I really enjoy the pics n must say-an impressive site!

  7. abhiyogi says:

    Incidentally, the Hercules Beetle, have been known to lift up to 800 times their own weight! So travel by the Rhino Jet may actually be worth consideration!

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