Japanese rhinoceros beetle

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Japanese rhinoceros beetle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scarabaeidae
Subfamily: Dynastinae
Genus: Allomyrina
Arrow, 1911
Species: A. dichotoma
Binomial name
Allomyrina dichotoma
(Linnaeus, 1771)

Trypoxylus dichotomus

The Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Japanese horned beetle, or kabutomushi (カブトムシ?), Allomyrina dichotoma, is a species of rhinoceros beetle found in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. It is sold as a pet in department stores in many countries of Asia where it is also frequently depicted in popular media as a common cartoon character for various uses, for example much as gorillas, lions, or T. rex are seen in advertisements and product labels in the United States. Some of these beetles have white eyes, others have red.

List of subspecies[edit]

  • Allomyrina dichotoma dichotoma – Males: 40–80 mm, Females: 40–60 mm;
  • Allomyrina dichotoma inchachina
  • Allomyrina dichotoma septentrionalis
  • Allomyrina dichotoma takarai
  • Allomyrina dichotoma tunobosonis


Main article: Insect fighting

Japanese rhinoceros beetles are a very popular subject in gambling, like Siamese fighting fish and cricket fights. In the most popular game, two different male beetles are placed on a log. They will battle each other, trying to push each other off the log, the one to stay on the log is the winner. This is a huge source and loss of money to many people, especially in the Ryukyu Islands.

Pets and breeding[edit]

Third instar Larva (last step before metamorphosis)

Many children in Japan buy or catch these beetles and breed them. Male and female insects will cost about 500 to 1000 yen (approximately five to ten US dollars). Male beetles normally die in the fall after mating many times, whereas female beetles normally die after laying eggs. The eggs are laid directly in the ground, then hatch into larva, which usually mature in a year.

Japanese scientists are trying to find supplements to make the Japanese rhinoceros beetle mature faster and grow to a larger size. Disturbing the beetle during its pupal stage is known to cause deformations in the beetle's physiology and possibly cause the beetle to die of shock. Touching the Japanese rhinoceros beetle too suddenly, even after it has metamorphosed, may also cause the beetle to die of shock.

Popular culture[edit]

Japanese rhinoceros beetle

Japanese rhinoceros beetles are very popular in anime, tokusatsu, advertisements, televisions, and films in Japan, including:


The Japanese rhinoceros beetle will live most of its life underground, for it only lives about four months as an actual beetle. The earliest beetles will come out of the ground in late spring; they will usually die around middle September to early October. They usually will die after mating and laying eggs.


In Japanese, rhinoceros beetles are called kabutomushi (かぶとむし, also written 甲虫 or かぶと虫?). Mushi is Japanese for bug, and kabuto is Japanese for helmet. So, literally, it means helmet-bug referring to a samurai helmet.


External links[edit]