Yes, an Insect Museum Can Have Mounted Heads, Too!

Dec 21, 2016

When you enter the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, on Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis, be sure to look up. Way up!

Way up? Where?

Up there, on your left!  See them? Above the shelved books.

What are they? Insects?

Right, they're insects. They're the mounted heads of rhinocerous beetles--the insect museum's answer to mounted deer heads.

Rhino Beetles
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Scarabaeiformia
Super Family: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Scarabaeidae
Subfamily: Dynastinae

"You know we have some silly moments in the museum," said Lynn Kimsey, museum director and professor of entomology, in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

"Some time ago we received a shipment of rhino beetle donations that were badly damaged by carpet beetles. We decided to prove to the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish that we had trophy head mounts just as nice as theirs..."

It was Bohart Museum associate Greg Karofelas of Davis who suggested that the rhino beetle heads be mounted. He cut the boards from Sika spruce from a "Shield pattern," which is used to mount game heads.

Dynastinae can reach six inches in length. No, they're don't bite. No, they don't sting.  The common name, "rhino," refers to the horns on the male head, used in fighting other males during the mating season, and for digging.  

No battles, though, on the Bohart wall. Just one male rhino and one female rhino. Together.

Frankly, how often do you see male and female deer heads together?