Adult elephant beetles are active at night, particularly between September and January, and are often attracted to artificial lights (2) (3) (6). The diet of the adult beetle is likely to include flowers and fruit, and it is also known to feed on the sap from recently cut twigs (3) (6).
Interestingly, the elephant beetle is able to increase its own body temperature metabolically when the air around it cools, in a manner more like that of a small mammal than an insect (4).
Male elephant beetles use their impressive horns to fight rival males for access to females or to feeding sites (2) (7). The female elephant beetle is believed to lay eggs in holes in living or dead trees, often within the abandoned nest of a bird or mammal. The larvae feed on organic material within the hole (3) (6) and may also feed on the rotten wood of the cavity’s walls (3).
Although elephant beetle larvae have sometimes been found in rotten logs and stumps on the ground, the adults are thought to generally live in the forest canopy, with the female typically laying the eggs in the upper parts of trees (3). In captivity, the larvae of this species have been reared on a mixture of rotten wood, forest soil and dry cow dung (3) (5).
The larvae of the elephant beetle take two to three years to mature (3) (5) (6), and spend around 38 to 44 days in the pupal stage before developing into adults (5). The elephant beetle larva can reach impressive weights of up to 86 grams, and can eat its way through an amazing 1.5 kilograms of organic matter as it develops (5).