Tico beetle has bragging rights at new Texas home

Elephant beetle easily fills the palm of a man's hand. Photo: San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio, Texas, Zoo has just acquired a giant Costa Rican beetle for display and a research project.
The zoo said that the elephant beetle (megasoma elephas) arrived from Guanacaste earlier this month. The zoo said the beetle came from the El Bosque Nuevo butterfly farm.

The zoo is involved in a program to repopulate Costa Rica. The elephant beetle has lost significant habitat because of destruction of rainforests in which it lives.

The nocturnal insect is one of the largest insects in the world. Females lay their eggs in rotting wood, and the eggs hatch into larva that lives on organic material. Adults are fond of fruit.

The beetle that is at the San Antonio Zoo is a male, distinctive due to the large and smaller horns that are used for combat. The research and breeding program is supported by the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly Conservatory in the state of Missouri and the Costa Rican government.

The beetle is black but appears to be yellow due to tiny body hairs.

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