If you ever get the opportunityto ride a motorcycle on the roads of Africa, be sure to wear a helmet. The fact is that the heaviest insects in the world, Goliathus beetles (Goliathus), are actively flying over African lands. The length of their body can be 12 centimeters, and the mass can reach 47 grams. We can say that this huge beetle is larger and heavier than the cartridge of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, so if it collides with a person’s head at high speed, it will probably pierce the skull. These insects cause great interest among scientists, therefore, over the long years of their study, they learned a lot of interesting things about them. They are remarkable not only for their large size, but also for their taste preferences and reproduction - in order to gain the attention of females, beetles arrange mass fights.
The heaviest bug
The story of the biggest bug is best to start withits size. The body length of males can reach 12 centimeters, but females grow only up to 8 centimeters. In nature, there are only 5 species of goliath beetles and in general they are very similar to each other. Their strong body is painted black, but individuals with a white texture are also found. The males have small horns on their heads, and the females have a shield that helps them dig the ground to lay larvae. Due to its large size, goliath beetles are practically not afraid of anyone.
But large body size has a significantminus - to lift it into the air, you need a lot of energy. Before the flight, the beetles warm their body to 35 degrees Celsius and this takes them several tens of minutes. To gain energy, insects eat a lot of sweets: fresh and rotten fruits, fresh juices left after people, and so on. Basically, goliath beetles sit on trees, and go flying only in search of females. A well-developed sense of smell helps them find them.
Recently, an article was published on our website on whether it is possible to grow an insect larva under the skin and why? It sounds strange, so I recommend that you look into the article and read what is written in it.
Goliath females are ready for mating in different waystime, so huge queues line up for an accessible individual. There are often fights between males - the winner gets all the attention of the female. Biologists have long noticed that males have very long forelimbs. It is quite logical that they are needed to keep the females stationary. And this is a necessary measure, because the genitals of beetles are very complicated and extreme accuracy is important in an act.
2-4 weeks after mating, femalegoliath beetle digs the earth and lays eggs there. Tiny larvae hatch from them, which feed on rotten plants and grow up to 15 centimeters. Then the vile-looking “worms” go into the pupal stage to become adults. After all this, they repeat the fate of their parents - eat sweets, fly in search of females, breed and so on. During the flight, they may encounter people and animals. Injuries after being struck by their strong bodies are likely to be avoided.
I warn you: the goliath beetle larva looks rather vile. I hid her photo in this link.
This is surprising, but goliath beetles are oftenkept by humans as pets. Their breeding does not require special conditions - they need only warm and humid conditions, as well as rotten wood. You don’t need to buy any food, because beetles with appetite eat rotten fruits and can even enjoy old jam. The only minus is the price of awful-looking larvae, which can cost from 500 to 20,000 rubles. It’s quite possible to buy a goliath beetle through platforms such as Avito, and not only alive, but also dried - apparently, they are in demand among collectors.
Goliath beetles are not yet considered an endangered species,but they still need to be protected. Recently, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova wrote an article about the so-called "insect apocalypse" - the mass extinction of these tiny creatures. Some scientists are sure that without insects, humanity simply can not continue to exist. And this is really not a joke, because a lot depends on insects in our life.