12 Beetles With Horns (With Pictures)

There are over 350,000 beetle species in the world, making beetles the largest known group of living organisms. With so many different types of beetles, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of these insects have unusual features. Some beetles with horns look like they would fit right in with dinosaurs.

What kinds of beetles have horns, and what do those horns look like? Why do beetles have horns, and what do they do with them? Read on to learn more about some of the many beetle species that have horns.

12 Beetles With Horns

1. Ox Beetles

Ox Beetles
Ox Beetle | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The ox beetle is a type of rhinoceros beetle that has not one, not two, but three horns! Male beetles have two horns behind their head and a larger horn in the center. While female beetles don’t have any horns, they do have small bumps called tubercles where horns would normally be.

2. Goliath Beetles

Goliath Beetles
Goliath Beetles Credits: Max Letek via Unsplash

These massive beetles can grow up to 4.3 inches long and can weigh as much as 1.8 ounces! Not only are they the largest species of beetle in the world, but these insects can lift objects far beyond their size. Male Goliath beetles have y-shaped horns on their heads, which they use to fight other beetles.

3. Hercules Beetles

hercules beetle on a branch
hercules beetle

This rhinoceros beetle is named for a legendary warrior, and it’s easy to see why! It has horn-like pincers that can grow to be longer than its entire body. These insects can use their horns to lift heavy objects and even other beetles! Thanks to their horns, the Hercules beetle is the longest beetle in the world!

4. Elephant Beetles

Elephant Beetles
Elephant Beetles by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

It’s easy to see how the elephant beetle got its name! At a glance, its horns could easily be mistaken for tusks. Major elephant beetles have three long horns, while minor beetles have one long horn and two horns that are much shorter. Female beetles don’t have horns at all, but they do have tubercles. Although males are known to use their horns to fight over mates, female beetles will usually choose the beetle with the longest horns to mate with, even when there’s no fighting involved.

5. Stag Beetles

Stag Beetles
stag beetle | Image by Robert Balog from Pixabay

The stag beetle has long jaws called mandibles that resemble the antlers of male deer! Both male and female beetles have these mandibles, though the jaws on female beetles are shorter and smaller. Thanks to these massive, horn-like jaws, stag beetles are capable of delivering very painful bites.

6. Atlas Beetles

Atlas Beetles
Atlas Beetle | image by jeanseyes via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Not only does the Atlas beetle have three long horns, but it also has several other appendages, making it look a little like a spider. While males use their horns to defend their territory and fight with other beetles for potential mates, females use their horns to protect larvae from potential threats. Most beetle species have wings, but the Atlas beetle only has a hard shell on its back. It’s possible that the Atlas beetle lost its wings when it developed its horns.

7. Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles

Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles
Japanese rhinoceros beetle | image by Thomas Wanhoff via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

There are more than 1,500 rhinoceros species, but the Japanese rhinoceros beetle is especially well-known thanks to the massive forked horn it has on top of its head. In Japan, the beetle’s horn is sometimes compared to the helmets worn by samurai! Beetles can use their horns to bore into tree trunks and flip over other beetles, incapacitating them. Typically, the larger a beetle is, the larger its horn will be.

8. Harlequin Beetles

harlequin beetle
harlequin beetle

The harlequin beetle has lengthy forearms, large mandibles, and long horns on top of its head. This combination of features already gives the beetle an unusual appearance, but this beetle is also known for having striking, bold color patterns across its body. Female harlequin beetles don’t have horns, but they still have notable mandibles.

9. Antelope Beetles

While the antelope beetles don’t resemble antelopes, both creatures make their home on plains. Both male and female antelope beetles have horn-like mandibles, but males have spurs on top of their mandibles that look a little like a second set of horns! This is a large, hardy beetle species that has a wide head and body.

10. Rainbow Scarab Beetles

Rainbow Scarab Beetles
Rainbow Scarab Beetle | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Rainbow beetles are a type of American dung beetle known for having metallic colors all over its body. These brightly-colored beetles only have one horn, but that horn is hard to miss! The long black horn points directly upward and curves backwards. Females don’t have horns, but they’re just as colorful as males are.

11. Forked Fungus Beetles

From a distance, you might not realize that the forked fungus beetle is a beetle at all! These beetles have thick, knobbed skin that allows them to easily blend in with their environment. Male beetles have short forked horns that are covered in a fungus-like fringe.

12. Horned Passalus Beetles

Horned Passalus Beetles
Horned Passalus | image by Katja Schulz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Sometimes called “betsy bugs,” the horned passalus has a single horn on top of its head. Although the horn is fairly small when compared to other types of beetles, this species is still remarkable! Betsy bugs are actually able to communicate with their grubs, and both parents work together to raise offspring.