Titan Beetle – Species Profile & Facts
Did you know that the Titan Beetle is a gigantic beetle living in the Amazon rainforests? I’d catalog it as one of the most impressive insects in the world. Because it reaches up to 6.5 inches in length, this leviathan is as far-reaching as your outstretched palms and more so!
If you plan on getting a pet insect, then the Titan Beetle may be just the one you want. It’s friendly when in captivity, its diet is not that complicated, and taking care of its needs is pretty simple. Although, with how big these boys get, you’re going to need a large enclosure if you plan on housing more than one Titan Beetle. It’s even more so if the males and females reproduce.
Keep reading for more information on Titan Beetles!
Titan Beetle Natural Habitat
Otherwise known as Titanus Giganteus, the Titan Beetle is typically found across the Amazonian Forests, in the following areas:
- North-central Brazil
- The Guianas
So, its natural habitat is very sunny and humid, most times. In the Amazonian forests, rain is too common most days. These beetles love burrowing inside the damp ground and laying eggs there. Similar to other beetle species, these guys produce eggs, which then transform into larvae, then pupae, and then into adult beetles.
It’s not exactly complicated to mimic their natural habitat in artificial conditions. The humidity should be slightly elevated above room levels. However, the temperature can remain at room temperature, if only a bit higher. Though, you’ll need to add a thick substrate because these beetles love burrowing inside.
Titan Beetle Characteristics
Many people have likened Titan Beetles to overgrown cockroaches because they kind of look similar. But they’re not, in fact, cockroaches. They do present a few peculiar characteristics worth talking about.
This beetle has a black abdomen with brown and reddish spots and black coloration on its forelegs and hindlegs. It also has a thorax and big antennae, with very pale wings that have brown vein-like striations on them. But, despite both males and females having wings, only males can fly. Females are a bit thicker and less slender, fit for laying eggs.
Titan Beetles also have a pair of vicious mandibles and powerful jaws that they hunt with. In fact, their mandibles are so strong that they can easily pierce into human flesh. Males are usually stronger than their female counterparts, as well. But both males and females reach a length of 6.5 inches, which makes Titan Beetles the second-longest beetles in the world. Only the Hercules Beetle is longer.
No one has seen Titan Beetle larvae until now, but the scientific community assumes the larvae are even ampler than adult Titans. In fact, they could even reach 12 inches in length. That’s quite a worrying size if you ask me. Even adult Titans are big. However, the larvae are double that.
– Size & Growth
As I said, Titan Beetles regularly reach sizes of 6.5 inches in length. For reference, a regular hotdog is 6 inches, while a credit card is 3 inches long. So, put two credit cards together and you still don’t have a full-sized Titan Beetle. Similar to Goliath, Hercules, and other types of Beetles, the Titan Beetle grows to its full size in a couple of months. It goes through multiple life cycles to get to its adult size, after all.
From an egg, it goes into the stage of large, buried underground, where it grows to approximately 12 inches long. After some time, the larvae will transform into a pupa, an intermediary stage preceding its final form, the Titan Beetle. Once the beetle fully forms inside the ‘chrysalis’, it’ll slowly break out and get out into the light.
Titan Beetles are mostly harmless if you don’t piss them off. Don’t handle them too much because this may stress them out. In fact, besides feeding them, cleaning their enclosure, and doing basic maintenance, try not to handle them too much. While beetles are known to bite on occasion, they generally don’t do that. Sure, Titans could pierce your skin with those deadly pincers, but they won’t.
However, put them together with other Titan males, and they’ll start a fight to the death eventually. Most likely, a female will become a reason to fight. During the mating season, all Titan males want to spread their genes, and if there aren’t enough females, males end up fighting. They will hurt each other and the result may even be deadly sometimes. So, either don’t keep males together or make sure there are enough females to go around.
Titan Beetles are generally solitary, as they don’t travel in groups or anything. But they can live in a community if need be. Although, it can be a somewhat aggressive community during the mating season like I said.
For defense, these beetles use their strong jaws to rip apart their prey and eat their flesh. Not kidding, these Titan Beetles can seriously wreak some heavy damage with their pincers. Those mandibles can even rip a pencil in half without a problem. These guys don’t necessarily have a natural enemy but sometimes, they get hunted down and eaten by other animals. Males can fly away but females are more vulnerable to dangers, which is when those pincers become essential to survival.
– Life Cycle
Titan Beetles don’t live long. Only for a few weeks. During adulthood, Titan Beetles rarely feed. That’s because their entire life’s purpose is to find a mate and reproduce. From the moment they’re born, these beetles will look for a mate, spread their genetic material, and die. That’s not even a joke. Most beetles die shortly after reproducing because of certain biological reasons.
Titan larvae and pupae haven’t been found in nature, probably due to how well-hidden they are. I assume they’re hidden under roots and branches underground, and a couple of years pass before the larvae transform into a pupa. These two life cycles, the larva, and the pupa are when these beetles feed the most. They need the nutrients to grow into a healthy Titan Beetle, after all.
Titan Beetle Care
If you want to keep Titan Beetles around, you need to take care of them. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to care for these big boys. They don’t even eat that much if you think about it.
– Diet & Nutrition
Remember when I said that Titan Beetles don’t eat much? Well, that was a gross understatement. These beetles don’t eat at all during adulthood. Scientists have done experiments with Titan Beetles kept in captivity. The beetle simply ignored the fruits and sugar water that the scientists provided to it. It kept looking around and moving about, seemingly looking for something. Looking for a mate, most likely.
However, during the larva stage, food is essential to these beetles. It is estimated that they eat decaying wood matter underneath the ground. The quality of the wood needs to be high so that the larva successfully evolves into a pupa. Then, it’ll slowly develop into a full-fledged Titan Beetle that only seeks to reproduce. Nature is truly a wonder to behold!
You’ll need a terrarium or a glass/plastic tank to house your Titan Beetles. But make sure the enclosure is about 5 times the length of the beetle in height and width. But that’s the bare minimum you need to watch out for. If you can get a bigger tank, all the better.
I also recommend putting some twigs and branches in the aquarium, so the beetle can walk on solid stuff. If you have artificial heating installed in the aquarium, the beetle will use the twigs to gradually get closer or farther from the light bulb, depending on the temperature.
Room temperature is good for these big boys, around 73.4 – 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity should be a bit elevated (40-60%), but you can easily fix that with a few water sprays. Heating the terrarium is also easy. Do it with a light bulb attached at one end of the terrarium. When the beetle wants some heat, it’ll come closer to the light bulb, and when it’s warm enough, it can get away and hide in the shadows to chill down.
– Health Problems
Considering how low their lifespan is, Titan Beetles don’t even have time to get sick. In other words, not many things can kill them, other than sex. Getting squashes, trapped, or eaten by other animals can be a health problem, sure. But these beetles don’t contract any known diseases or ever get sick. As long as their enclosure is big enough, and the temperature + humidity parameters are fine, Titan Beetles will be fine.
Once a male Titan Beetle gets out from its pupa, all he does is fly around, looking for a mate. He does this through chemicals signals, which are pretty accurate. Usually, it won’t be long before a male finds a female on the forest floor. That’s because females are strategically positioned there for any male to find.
When our big boy finds a female, he’ll attempt to mate. If he manages to reproduce, he’ll die shortly afterward. That’s how their life cycle goes, pure and simple. After the male dies, the female lays the eggs in the ground, and no one knows how long it takes for them to hatch or how Titan Beetle larvae look. But it’s safe to assume that they’re much bigger than adult beetles.
It’ll be a bit difficult to keep Titan Beetles in captivity, due to their low lifespan. I mean, they die in a few weeks. Unless you let them reproduce and restore the population constantly, you’ll eventually end up with an empty terrarium.
Well, a terrarium filled with dead beetles. But if you want to do this, all the same, it’s not hard at all. Titan Beetles don’t need food, so what more do you want?