Atlas Beetle

Chalcosoma atlas

Last updated: October 10, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Mark Brandon/

Male Atlas beetles have prominent horns that are three times that of females. 


Atlas Beetle Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Chalcosoma atlas

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Atlas Beetle Conservation Status

Atlas Beetle Locations

Atlas Beetle Locations

Atlas Beetle Facts

Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
Male Atlas beetles have prominent horns that are three times that of females. 
Tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia.
giant scoliid wasp
  • Nocturnal
Common Name
Atlas Beetle

Atlas Beetle Physical Characteristics

  • Green
Skin Type
12 months
25mm - 80mm (0.98in - 2.36in)

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Male Atlas beetles have prominent horns that are three times that of females. 


The Atlas beetle (Chalcosoma atlas) is a species of beetle native to Southeast Asia. They’re known for their remarkable size and the prominent horns of the males. This beetle is also quite strong. They can lift objects that are up to 850 times their body weight. The larvae of these beetles are quite aggressive and can bite anyone that tries to touch them. Their strength and attractive appearance make this beetle quite popular with collectors. 

Atlas Beetles Species, Types, and Scientific Name

Atlas beetles are known by the scientific name Chalcosoma atlas. They’re a large species of beetles that belong to the family Scarabaeidae. Also known as Scarab beetles, the family Scarabaeidae contains more than 30,000 species of beetles found all over the world. Scarab beetles have stout bodies and are typically bright metallic colors

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Atlas beetles are native to Southeast Asia. They’re most commonly found in Malaysia, but they’re also present in some parts of Indonesia and the Philippines. This bug is named after the Greek mythological figure Atlas who was cursed to hold the sky for all eternity. 

Atlas beetles belong to the genus Chalcosoma, a genus of rhinoceros beetles native to Southeast Asia. Rhino beetles typically have trident-shaped horns and are endemic to the Southeast Asia region. These extremely strong bugs can lift objects that are several times their own weight. Male Atlas beetles are typically bigger, and they have a large horn which they use to dig into leaf litter to get away from predators. 

Appearance: How To Identify Atlas Beetles

Like other rhinoceros beetles in the genus Chalcosoma, Atlas beetles have a remarkable size. They’re among the largest of all rhinoceros beetles. They exhibit sexual dimorphism, a phenomenon that is common in Scarab beetles. Males are larger than females. They also have prominent horns and lengthy appendages. The legs and horns of some males may not be as long as that of other males.

Male Atlas beetles are usually between 60–120 millimeters (2.4–4.7 in) in length. Females, on the other hand, may measure between 25–60 millimeters (0.98–2.36 in). Males are known to have specialized horns on their heads and thorax. The horns are in the form of two prominent ones on the head that curve outward to form a U shape. They also have a third equally long but lower-placed horn that curves upward. 

They use these specialized horns to fight each other to get mating rights to the female. While the prominent-trident-shaped horns are a feature they share with other beetles in the Chalcosoma genus, their horns are broader compared to that of other species. 

Atlas beetles are bulky bugs with an average weight of about 0.004g. Their exact weight often depends on the sex, age, and size of the insect. This beetle is one of the strongest creatures on the planet. Their robust bodies and thick horns make it possible for them to lift objects that are up to 4 g in weight which means they can lift 850 times their body weight.

Atlas beetles have wide-rounded shapes, which is typical of scarabs. In addition, they have a hardened exoskeleton that encloses their flying wings. The color of their body typically ranges from dark brown to a beautiful metallic green color.

Habitat: Where to Find Atlas Beetles

The Atlas beetle is native to Southeast Asia. They’re especially common in Malaysia but also occur in some parts of the Philippines and Indonesia. In places where they’re found, Atlas beetles typically live in tropical rainforests, where they cling to the branches of fruit trees. They may also live in plantations and secondary forests. 

Although they can fly when they open their elytra, this beetle cannot lift itself from the ground due to its heavy weight. To fly, they often have to launch themselves from trees since they cannot lift their body from the ground. 

Diet: What Do Atlas Beetles Eat?

The Atlas beetle is a herbivorous insect that feeds on leaves, fruits, and flowers. They typically cling to tree branches where they feed on leaves. However, they can also feed on sap from the trees. However, the preferred food for most adults is fruit (especially figs). The larvae of this bug feed mainly on rotting wood. However, it can also eat other insects.

What Eats Atlas Beetles? 

Atlas beetles have a specialized natural predator called the giant scoliid wasp (Megascolia procer). This insect uses the larvae of the Atlas beetle as a host for its eggs. The large wasp hunts the larvae of the beetle, injecting them with a venom that paralyzes them and deposits its eggs on the Larvae. When the eggs hatch, they eat the larva from the insides until they emerge as adults. Apart from these parasitic wasps, these beetles are large enough to not become prey to other insects and animals that typically hunt other insects such as lizards, rodents, and birds. 


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Atlas Beetle FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How strong are atlas beetles?

One of the most fascinating things about atlas beetles is their strength. Despite their size, they can lift objects that are up to 850 times their body weight. That’s equivalent to a man lifting a lorry.

Is an atlas beetle a rhino beetle?

Yes. Atlas beetles belong to the subfamily Dynastinae. Beetles in this sub-family are also known as Rhinoceros beetles, Hercules beetles, or Elephant beetles. They are characterized by impressive trident-shaped horns and their massive size.

Can atlas beetles bite?

While adult atlas beetles do not bite, their larvae are a lot more aggressive. They’re known to bite people if touched.

Can you have a rhino beetle as a pet?

Yes, rhino beetles are among the most sought-after insects by collectors and hobbyists. This is due to their large size and impressive appearance.

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