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.

The triceratops beetle, Phileurus truncatus (Palisot de Beauvois) (32-38 mm).

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


  1. omg south florida , miami dade county was infested with these for 1 week in the middle of 2010 and i think me and my friends were the only ones alive because everybody else doesnt talk about it and i finally found the right beetle ! they were so loud and obnoxious when they hit things there was everywhere i was so scared lol i wish someone else would talk about it like i had experienced these bugs ! one time i was with my friends walking to mcdonalds these things were crazy and vicious it came at my neck and i freaked out and ran away ! i couldnt walk one step without seeing one on the floor !

  2. those big green eyess …. eww

  3. heather hamm Says:

    I found a cockroach like bright reddish orange insect on my counter last night can anyone tellme what it was cause it was not a cockroach but looked like one

  4. I’ve got one of these as a pet (my boyfriend found him and brought him home for me) and he’s sort of the greatest thing evar. 🙂 Had him for a year and still kickin’.

    • lol! caught one in our living room, my mom thought it was a humming bird:D keeping the wee fella as a pet. named him/her Temby. as you say tough little creature!

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