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World's Biggest Beetle

12:14 PM
World's Biggest Beetle
These pictures show Titanus giganteus, the world's largest beetle and one of the most mysterious creatures on the planet.

Better known as the Titan beetle, it can grow up to seven inches long and has a jaw so strong that it can snap a wooden pencil in two.

Despite its terrifying size and fearsome bite, it is entirely harmless to humans, according to Oddity Central.

The insect hides away in South America's humid tropical rainforests and only ventures out to find a mate.

Intriguingly the larvae of the giant insect has never been seen. However, scientists believe that the grubs are two inches in diameter and can be up to a foot long.

Judging by large boreholes found in dead trees, scientists believe the grubs feed on decaying wood underground for several years before they are fully grown,

The male beetle does not feed during its adult life but needs energy to fly.

The energy comes from the reserves it gathered in its pupa stage and is used to fly just long enough to find a mate.

The creature is so large that it does not have enough energy to fly from the ground so instead must climb trees and launch itself from a branch before it actually takes to the air.

Females wait for the males to find them and fertilise their eggs so are consequently very rarely seen.

They defend themselves by hissing in warning and then use their huge jaws to bite attackers.

The Titan beetle also has incredibly strong legs and sharp claws that can tear animal and human flesh, but reportedly do not attack unless provoked.

They live in the rainforests of Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, the Guianas and Peru, where locals attempt to catch them after dark with bright lights.

While many people try and avoid the fearsome beetle, some tourists pay a lot of money to attempt to see the insect in its natural habitat. Indeed the creature is a brilliant example of a successful eco-tourism initiative.

The largest Titan beetle ever discovered was a staggering 16.7 centimetres long and was found in French Guyana.

A specimen of a normal-sized beetle can cost up to £400.

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