BEETLES OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA: TRICERATOPS BEETLE
By Arthur V. Evans
Species of Phileurus are characterized by their somewhat flattened, shiny black bodies, a sharply pointed clypeus, the smooth outer margins of the exposed mandibles, mouthparts covered below by a broad plate, a distinct groove running lengthwise along the pronotum, with a depression and a small bump just behind the head, and deeply furrowed elytra. Both adults and larvae are found in rotting logs and stumps. The larvae probably feed on decomposing wood and its associate fungi, while the adults are known to prey on insects and are attracted to lights at night.
Sometimes called the “triceratops beetle,” Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois) (32.0 to 38.0 mm) is a large, robust insect. Both males and females have large and distinct horns on the head. This species occurs from Virginia south to Florida, west to Tennessee and southeastern Arizona.
Adults are typically encountered at lights during the summer, but are seldom common. They occasionally enter homes through chimneys, which suggests that they may be associated with tree holes. The larval stages have yet to be described, but the pupae have been found under the bark of a rotting oak stump.
© 2010, A.V. Evans