Quickly vanishing forests of West Africa are still home to one of the most magnificent members of the beetle order—the Goliath beetle (Goliathus regius).
Despite their bulky appearance, Goliath beetles are excellent fliers, frequenting flowers blooming in the forest canopy. Adult beetles feed also on ripe fruits and sap, while their giant grubs, which can exceed 150 millimeters in length, develop in the decomposing wood of naturally fallen large trees. It is the increasing shortage of large rainforest trees that may ultimately spell the demise of this and other giant beetles. Their development depends on the availability of old-growth trees, the very same ones that are the principal target of the logging industry. I was lucky to run into this coleopteran wonder on Mt. Bero in Guinea. [Canon 10D, Nikon 17-35mm (yes, a Nikon lens on a Canon body)]
[Read more about the wonderful world of beetles in my book “The Smaller Majority.”]