Allomyrina dichotoma

Japanese rhinoceros beetle

The Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Japanese horned beetle, or , Trypoxylus dichotomus, is a species of rhinoceros beetle found in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. It is sold as a pet in department stores in many countries of Asia, where it is also frequently depicted in popular media as a common cartoon character for various uses, for example much as cartoon bears, lions, or alligators are seen in advertisements and product labels in the United States.

List of subspecies

  • Trypoxylus (Allomyrina) dichotoma dichotoma
  • Trypoxylus (Allomyrina) dichotoma inchachina
  • Trypoxylus (Allomyrina) dichotoma septentrionalis
  • Trypoxylus (Allomyrina) dichotoma takarai
  • Trypoxylus (Allomyrina) dichotoma tunobosonis


Kabutomushi are a very popular subject in gambling, like Siamese fighting fish and cricket fights. In the most popular game, two different male beetles are placed on a log. The two beetles will battle each other, trying to push each other off the log, the one to stay on the log is the winner. This is a huge source and loss of money to many people, especially in the Ryukyu Islands.

Pets and breeding

Many children of Japan will buy, or catch, these bugs, including stag beetles, and breed them. At hardware stores, males will cost about 350-1000 yen, (around three to ten US dollars) while the females cost much less. The reason females cost less is because they have no horns at all. Another popular beetle is the atlas beetle, which can cost more than 10,000 yen(about a hundred US dollars.) Male beetles will usually die in the fall after mating many times, and the female will die after laying eggs. The eggs are laid in a piece of rotting wood, or in the ground. The eggs hatch into larva, which usually mature in a year. Japanese scientists are trying to find supplements to make them mature faster, and turn out bigger. Disturbing the beetle during its pupa stage is known to cause deformations in the beetles appearance.

Popular culture

Beetles are very popular in anime, Tokusatsu, advertisements, televisions, and films in Japan, including:

The pairing of the Japanese rhinoceros beetle with the stag beetle is also popular.

Often, they are linked to the element of lightning. Why this is so is unknown.

OWI manufactures a robot kit called kabuto-mushi that can grasp a pen in its jaws and write with it.


The kabutomushi will live most of its life underground, for it only lives about 4 months as an actual beetle. The earliest beetles will come out of the ground in late spring, they will usually die around middle September to early October. They usually will die after mating and laying eggs.

External links

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