Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

One of the urgent environmental issues on Guam is the spread of the non-indigenous coconut rhinoceros beetle throughout the island. In the last few years, when you look around it seems that they have invaded the entire island with coconut trees wasting away. You can read a description of the beetle and little more about it here.

Oryctes rhinoceros (L.), the coconut rhinoceros beetle, is a pest species occurring throughout many tropical regions of the world. Adults can cause extensive damage to economically important wild and plantation palms.

Palm damaged by Oryctes rhinoceros

Figure 1. Palm damaged by Oryctes rhinoceros. Photograph by Mark Benavente.

Oryctes rhinoceros is one of the most damaging insects to palms in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Adults eat the leaves and burrow into the crown, stunting plant development (Giblin-Davis 2001).

DSC08008 (1280x960)DSC08012 (1280x960)Over the last few years we have seen rhino beetles everywhere in our neighborhood. Often we find several in our carport. We have noticed that the trees in our neighborhood are affected, especially the tree in our front yard. Joyce hired a couple students to take the tree out and they found it to be full of rhino beetle grubs. We killed the ones we found but I am guessing that we would find much the same thing in most of the trees around our house that are still standing.

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Perhaps including the grubs in our diet would solve the problem? (They didn’t really eat them!)

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