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Strongest Creature

February 23, 2010 , Posted by Nunus at 5:48 AM

You're probably thinking the strongest creature on earth is only a bug that fits in the palm of your hand? What about the largest living land mammal? You'd think something as massive as an elephant would be able to carry way more weight than a little insect. Yes, it's true. An elephant can carry a lot more weight than a rhinoceros beetle, but the definition of strength we're using here is one of proportional strength. A huge African elephant can only carry up to 25% of its own weight on its back. The rhinoceros beetle can carry 850 times its own weight. There's NO CONTEST. That would be like an elephant carrying 850 elephants on its back.

What is That Horn For?
The rhinoceros beetle is aptly named because it has horns on its head, very much like the rhinoceros does. Scientists believe that the beetle has become so strong to be able to forage through heavy litter on the jungle floor and dig its way to safety. Using its horns it can dig its way out of a sticky situation by burying itself underground, escaping danger.

Some Fascinating Facts about Rhinoceros Beetles

Picture of rhinoceros beetle"Adult rhino beetles eat rotting fruit and sap; in spite of their size, they don't eat very much. The larvae, on the other hand, eat a great deal of rotting wood or the compost in which they live. In spite of their fierce appearance, they are all totally harmless: they cannot bite or sting or hurt you with their horns.

Rhino beetles have three instars, that is, they go through three molts before changing into the pupal stage. It is not possible to say what the average life span is because the name rhino beetle refers to about 300 different species of scarab beetles; some live in tropical countries and some live in North America, and so the length of their lives varies a lot.

Rhino beetles could be considered helpful because they are important in recycling plant material back into the ecosystem. On only a few rare occasions has a species reached pest proportions, and this has usually happened in sugar cane fields or palm plantations that have been recently carved out of the jungle. In this case, humans have entered the home habitat of the beetles and upset the balance of things. You might also consider rhino beetles to be extremely beneficial because of aesthetics: they are all so beautiful.

The best protection they have from predators is their usually large size combined with their activity being at night. During the day, they are hiding under logs or in vegetation and invisible from the few predators big enough to want to eat them. Surprisingly, the horn of the male is not used for protection but rather for the occasional battle with another male over a feeding site. The victorious male with the feeding site can then often attract a mate; the females have no horns. It's sorta like the guy in the school lunchroom with the best lunch can attract the prettiest girl; she does not really care what you look like but is more interested in your food. This is some very basic biology for many vertebrate animals (including humans): males having the most resources are often the ones chosen by females. These resources can take many forms: food, territory, ability to care for young, or brains; big antlers, large horns, or being handsome usually rate second.

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