When the beetle Titanus giganteus reach adulthood It can measure 6.5 inches (16.7 cm) long, hence its name, which means “giant titan.” This insect has incredibly strong jaws that can break wooden pencils in half. Fortunately, they are quite harmless to humans.
It belongs to the beetles, a very varied family
According to Professor Joseph V. McHugh (University of Georgia) and Professor James K. Liebherr (Cornell University), beetles comprise 25% of all animals and plants described. This makes them the main contributors to the world’s known biodiversity. The 350,000 species of beetles described are members of the largest taxonomic order of life on Earth, the beetles.
Coleoptera are known by many names and include fireflies, ladybugs, weevils and, of course, beetles. The large number of beetle species is reflected in a disconcerting variety of anatomical and biological diversity in order. Coleoptera are represented in almost all biogeographic regions and non-marine habitats.
Most adult beetles can fly. However, when not in use, the delicate flight wings are usually hidden beneath the shell-shaped protective elytra. The Titanus giganteus they also have wings with which they can fly moderate distances.
Most beetles are herbivores, fungivores or predatory carnivores throughout their life cycles. Many are considered serious pests of our homes, forests, crops and stored products, while some beneficial species are regularly used as biological control agents.
Although beetles share common characteristics, there are notable variations in appearance with respect to their species. For example, adult body size varies from beetles Nanosella fungi 0.4 mm long to beetles Titanus giganteus 200 mm long from South America.
The Titanus giganteus It is a mysterious animal
The giant titan is one of the most mysterious creatures on Earth. Same as him Attacus Atlas, the beetle Titanus giganteus It does not feed during its adult life.
Those who have studied this insect suggest that it lives underground for several years before reaching maturity. On the other hand, The larvae of this amazing insect have never been found. However, judging by the large wells found in dead trees in their natural habitat, scientists believe that the larvae of the titan beetle feed on decaying wood. In addition, the size of these holes suggests that the larvae are about two inches in diameter and up to a foot long.
In his adult stage, he uses the reserves gathered in his pupa stage to fly enough to find a partner. Because they mostly sit around waiting for males to look for them and fertilize their eggs, Females have rarely been seen.
The Hercules beetle is considered the longest beetle in the world, measuring more than 7 inches (more than 17.5 cm) due to its huge horn. Nevertheless, the Titanus giganteus remains the largest beetle in the world and also one of the largest insects on the planet.
It is curious to know that the giant titan defends itself by whistling in warning and using its large jaws to bite the attackers. It also has very strong legs, equipped with sharp claws that can literally tear the meat. It never attacks without provocation, but it must be handled with care.
The Titanus giganteus The largest recorded measures 16.7 centimeters, and was collected by entomologist Patrick Bleuzen in French Guyana.
He leads a very discreet life
The Titanus giganteus He lives discreetly deep in the Amazon rainforest in some of the countries of South America. Specifically, in the warmest rain forests. As we already commented, He only ventures abroad except when looking for a partner.
In Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the Guiana and north-central Brazil, locals and researchers try to capture them after dark, with bright lights. This is because, at nightfall, bright lights attract these beetles.
Mercury vapor lamps, in particular, are used to attract male titan beetles in French Guiana. There is an ecotourism industry based on providing sightings and specimens of these beetles to tourists visiting the villages of the region. Each beetle can cost up to five hundred US dollars.
Getting protection through collectors
Although it seems contradictory, the value of the beetle in the collector market is what provides the funds and awareness necessary for its conservation. Because titan beetles are so dependent on “good quality wood” to survive, Not only beetles benefit from conservation efforts, but the entire ecosystem that surrounds their living environment.
Females are very difficult to collect and males are trapped by locals and sold to collectors. This does not harm the general population at all, since males are only necessary to fertilize the eggs of the females