Titan beetle

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Titan beetle
Titanus giganteus MHNT.jpg
Titanus giganteus
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification

Audinet-Serville, 1832
T. giganteus
Binomial name
Titanus giganteus
(Linnaeus, 1771)
  • Cerambyx giganteus Linnaeus, 1771
  • Prionus giganteus
  • Percnopterus giganteus

The titan beetle (Titanus giganteus) is a neotropical longhorn beetle, the sole species in the genus Titanus, and one of the largest known beetles.


The titan beetle is one of the largest beetles, with the largest reliable measured specimen being 16.7 cm (6.6 in) in length,[1] comparable to such beetles as Xixuthrus heros (15 cm (5.9 in)) and the Hercules beetle, Dynastes hercules, in which giant males occasionally can grow up to 17.5 cm (6.9 in),[2] but the Hercules beetle males have an enormous horn on the pronotum or thorax making up around half of its total length. As such, the body of the Titan beetle is considerably larger than that of the Hercules beetles. The short, curved and sharp mandibles are known to snap pencils in half and cut into human flesh.[3] Adult titan beetles do not feed, searching instead for mates.

The larvae have never been found, but are thought to feed inside wood and may take several years to reach full size before they pupate. Boreholes thought to be created by titan beetle larvae seem to fit a grub over two inches wide and perhaps as much as one foot long. A famous "life-sized" photograph of a putative larva of this beetle appeared in National Geographic magazine, filling an entire page,[3] but it was of a different species of beetle, possibly Macrodontia cervicornis.

The adults defend themselves by hissing in warning and biting, and have sharp spines, as well as strong jaws.[3]


It is known from the rain forests of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Guianas, and north-central Brazil.



  1. ^ Williams, David M. (2001). "Chapter 30: Largest". In Walker, T.J. University of Florida Book of Insect Records.
  2. ^ Ratcliffe BC, Cave RD. 2015. The dynastine scarab beetles of the West Indies (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae). Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum 28: l-346.
  3. ^ a b c Zahl, P. A. (1959): Giant insects of the Amazon. Natl. Geogr. Mag. 115 (5): 632-669.

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