Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

American Samoa Community College Community & Natural Resources Cooperative Research & Extension 2005

The coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros (L.), has been a pest of coconuts and other palms in the South Pacific since its accidental introduction into Samoa from Sri Lanka in 1909. Rhinoceros beetle is mainly a pest of coconut and oil palms; but it also attacks other palm species.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle adults damage palms by boring into the center of the crown, where they injure the young, growing tissues and feed on the exuded sap. As they bore into the crown, they cut through the developing leaves. When the leaves grow out and unfold, the damage appears as V-shaped cuts in the fronds or holes through the midrib.

Life Cycle:
Eggs are laid and larvae develop in decaying logs or stumps, piles of decomposing vegetation or sawdust, or other organic matter. Eggs hatch in 8-12 days, and larvae feed and grow for another 82-207 days before entering an 8-13 day non-feeding pre -pupal stage. Pupae are formed in a cell made in the wood or in the soil beneath where the larvae feed. The pupal stage lasts 17-28 days. Adults remain in the pupal cell 17-22 days before emerging and flying to palm crowns to feed. The beetles are active at night and hide in feeding or breeding sites during the day. Most mating takes place at the breeding sites. Adults may live 4-9 months and each female lays 50-100 eggs during her lifetime.

Natural Enemies:
Rhinoceros beetle eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults may be attacked by various predators, including pigs, rats, ants, and some beetles. They may also be killed by two important diseases: the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae and the Oryctes virus disease

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