Welcome to the GOLIATHUS website.  These pages are dedicated to the African Goliath beetles, which are among the largest and heaviest of living beetles.  There are five species in the genus: Goliathus goliatus, G. regius, G. cacicus, G. orientalis, and G. albosignatus.  Additionally, there exists the rare regius X cacicus hybrid, known as Goliathus "atlas".

    Goliath beetles are members of the insect order Coleoptera, family Scarabaeidae, subfamily Cetoniinae, tribe Goliathini, genus Goliathus.  All Goliathus species are native to Africa.  They are primarily tropical, although one species, G. albosignatus, is localized in the more subtropical southeastern portion of Africa.  It is in the continent's equatorial rain forests that the Goliath beetles have reached their greatest diversity.

    The larvae of Goliathus are rather unusual among cetoniine scarabs in that they require food much higher in protein than do those of most other species.  Like some other genera of Cetoniinae (such as the North American Cotinis spp.) Goliathus larvae are soil dwelling.  In contrast, most other cetoniines undergo their larval development within decaying plant material such as rotten wood and accumulations of decaying leaves.  For detailed instructions on the life cycle and captive breeding of Goliathus, please see the breeding manual.  Under optimal conditions (both nutritional and environmental), the larvae grow quickly and reach maximum weight in approximately four months.  In the case of the largest Goliathus species (G. goliatus, G. regius, and G. orientalis), larvae are capable of growing up to 130 mm (5 in.) in length, and reaching weights in excess of 100 grams.  Toward the end of the African wet season, when the larva has finished growing, it burrows to some depth below ground and encapsulates itself within a thin-walled, oval-shaped cell composed of sandy soil.  Within this structure, it will undergo metamorphosis to the adult state over the course of the tropical dry season.  Once building of the cell is completed, the larva becomes motionless for a few weeks, shrinks in size somewhat and becomes rather wrinkled (the pre-pupal stage).  After the pre-pupal stage, the larval skin is shed and the insect enters the pupal stage, an intermediate stage between the larva and adult.  During the pupal duration, the insect's tissues are re-organized into the form of the adult beetle.  After pupation is completed in several months, the adult sheds the pupal skin and then expands its wings and folds them into their correct position.  This procedure is done while still inside the earthen cell.  The beetle then undergoes a gradual hardening of its exoskeleton, and remains within the cell in a hibernatory state until the heavy rains of the following wet season soak down into the ground and soften the hardened walls of its pupal cell.  This awakens the insect from its hibernation, and it emerges from the cell.  The beetle then flies off in search of a mate and the entire life cycle starts over again - the larval stage developing during the wet months, and the dry season being spent within the pupal cell.  The adult beetles eat foods rich in sugar, especially tree sap, but will also accept ripe fruit.  In captivity, adults can sometimes live for nearly a year after emerging from their pupal cells.  However, longevity in the wild is likely much shorter on average due to factors such as predators and weather conditions.  The adult stage concentrates solely on reproduction, and once this function is performed, the time of the adult beetle is limited.  The same is true of the vast majority of other insect species.

    Goliath beetles possess a reinforced first pair of wings (called elytra) which act as protective covers for their secondary pair of wings and abdomen.  Only the second pair of wings (which are large and membranous) are actually used for flying.  When not in use, they are kept completely folded beneath the elytra.  Each of the beetle's legs ends in a pair of sharp claws (called tarsi) which provide a strong grip useful for climbing on tree trunks and branches.  Males have a Y-shaped horn on the head which is used as a pry bar in battles with other males over feeding sites or mates.  Females are without a horn, and instead have a wedge-shaped head which assists in burrowing when they lay eggs.  Apart from their massive size, Goliathus beetles are strikingly patterned as well.  Prominent markings common to all of the Goliathus species are the sharply contrasting black vertical stripes on the pronotum (thoracic shield).
go to: Goliathus goliatus
go to: Goliathus regius
go to: Goliathus cacicus

go to: Goliathus orientalis
go to: Goliathus albosignatus
go to: Goliathus atlas

Click on the buttons above to view information pages about
each Goliathus species, as well as access photo galleries.

NEW - 31 Dec. '08 - The much anticipated book "For the Love of Rhinoceros and Stag Beetles (Second Edition)" has been published!  Click here for details & purchasing link.

go to: Goliathus breeding manual go to: Goliathus postage stamps (currently under construction) go to: Goliathus links go to: Family SCARABAEIDAE
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