Fun Ox Beetle Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 06, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Ox beetle facts talk about its head and horns.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

Ox beetles are one of the largest and most commonly found beetle species in the United States of America. Its distribution ranges from Puerto Rico, south to Brazil in South America, and from Arizona to Georgia and Texas. It is a species of rhinoceros beetle that is known for its horn-like projection.

There are two types of adult males in ox beetles, namely the major males and the minor males. Major males are equipped with three horns, the central horn being the longest.

Minor beetle males also have horns as well, but the two horns they have are much smaller in size. These horns are used by males to fight over females. Their soft wings are covered with hard-shelled forewings called elytra which protects them while fighting.

The larvae of the rhinoceros beetles are known as grubs and have a length of approximately 4 in (10.16 cm) when straightened. They live in decaying logs or composts and there is a lot more to learn about these fascinating beetles!

Keep reading to find out more interesting facts about these beetles. If you enjoy reading about beetles, be sure to check out our darkling beetle and click beetle facts too.

Ox Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an ox beetle?

The ox beetle is a type of insect.

What class of animal does an ox beetle belong to?

The ox beetle belongs to the class Insecta and the family Scarabaeidae.

How many ox beetles are there in the world?

Ox beetles are one of the most common beetles found across America. It thus becomes difficult to assess the exact population of these beetles in the world.

Where does an ox beetle live?

Ox beetle (strategus aloeus) bugs can be found in large numbers in the United States of America. The species' distribution ranges from Florida to Arizona as well as Puerto Rico and Brazil in South America. Ox beetles are also largely found in parts of Central America and Mexico.

What is an ox beetle's habitat?

The ox beetle (Strategus aloeus) mostly resides in pine forests, woodland, and parkland in dead palm logs, and rotten wood.

Who do ox beetles live with?

The ox beetle species usually live alone, in contrast to most insects which exhibit more complex social behaviors. They are nocturnal creatures that spend the majority of their day hidden and come out only during the night to feed.

How long does an ox beetle live?

An adult ox beetle (Strategus aloeus) has a lifespan of just four to six months.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season for ox beetles lasts from May to November. A female ox beetle lays eggs in sandy soil or on rotten wood. They also bring leaf litter to the burrow for the hatched larvae to feed on. These nocturnal larvae appear to be like C-shaped grubs.

The larvae stage lasts for about six months. The grubs (also called larvae) take about a year to develop fully. The pupation period is largely affected by weather conditions.

What is their conservation status?

The rhinoceros beetle species, to which the ox beetle belongs, has been listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Ox Beetle Fun Facts

What do ox beetles look like?

The ox beetle (Strategus aloeus) has a reddish-brown body. These beetles, like most insects, have a head, thorax, legs, and abdomen. As mentioned before, there are two types of male ox beetles: major and minor.

Major ox beetle males have three large horns located on their thorax, with the central horn being the longest. Minor males have horns that are much shorter and can be used for digging. Female ox beetles have raised tubercles which are similar to horns.

Close-up of an Ox Beetle.

How cute are they?

Ox beetles have dark reddish-brown bodies and horns that can be quite intimidating to look at.

How do they communicate?

Beetles have been known to communicate with their species through different chemicals. Females can be easily identified by males due to their scents.

How big is an ox beetle?

The ox beetle, belonging to the family of rhinoceros beetles, is one of the largest species of beetles found in the United States of America. This beetle usually has a length of about 1.2-2.3 in (3.05-5.84 cm).

How fast can an ox beetle run?

There has not been enough research conducted to calculate its speed on land or in the air. Due to their heavy body, however, ox beetles need to exert a lot of force to fly.

How much does an ox beetle weigh?

There have not been many studies to calculate the weight of these beetles. But they are estimated to be approximately 1.8 oz (51 g) in weight. These insects are tiny in comparison to the eastern Hercules beetle, which is almost three times bigger.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no unique names to identify male and female ox beetles.

What would you call a baby ox beetle?

The baby beetle or beetle larva is known as a 'grub'. Grubs appear to be large in size, white in color and C-shaped in appearance. These grubs feed on compost and rotten wood and serve a very important role in recycling organic matter.

What do they eat?

The typical adult ox beetle's diet mainly consists of fruits like apples and, at times, different types of leaves. Larvae or grubs feed on rotten, decaying wood and compost.

Are they poisonous?

These beetles are not poisonous and are rarely harmful to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

This ox beetle species of rhinoceros beetle is low in maintenance and makes for a great pet. Adult ox beetles are easy to raise and require a tank made out of glass or plastic with at least 2 in (5.08 cm) of humid soil.

A few pieces of bark, wood, and twigs should also be provided to ensure that the beetle has enough exploring space. You can feed your beetles a variety of fresh fruits like bananas, grapes, and pineapples, but their absolute favorite is apples!

Did you know...

The three large horns of the major males are arranged in a manner that makes them resemble Triceratops, the three-horned dinosaur.

Females do not have horns and use their raised tubercles to dig burrows instead.

Females add dried leaves to the hatching site to secure them and maintain the proper temperature for their eggs.

Ox beetle (Strategus aloeus) pupation is largely affected by the weather and can be shortened in captivity by providing a warmer climate.

The rhinoceros beetle species are considered to be pests of both coconut and oil palms.

Do ox beetles bite?

Ox beetles generally are harmless and will not bite until they feel threatened. However, beetles, in general, do have mouthparts that can chew, so they can bite.

Comparisons with other beetles

Ox beetles are a species of rhinoceros beetle, which comprises the largest and heaviest beetles in the world. The heaviest known beetle is the Actaeon beetle, with a weight of over 7 oz (198 g), while the largest beetle is the male Hercules beetle with a length of 7.4 in (18.8 cm).

The titan beetle is also very large, at 6.5 in (16.51 cm).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these weevil beetle facts and stink bug facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable ox beetle coloring pages.

central america and certain parts of south america

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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