Gábor Molnár and the Giant Capricorn Beetle
Ákos Mender investigating Molnár Gábor and the Capricorn Beetle
It has come to light how one of the most precious giant beetles was taken to the Animal Collection of the Hungarian Natural History Museum
The Giant Capricorn Beetle (Titanus giganteus) is the biggest beetle species of the world: the length of the largest specimen caught so far 16.7 centimeters. The beetle lives in the dense forests of the northern parts of South-America. Its larva grows in decayed tree trunks for years, the adult beetle however lives for only a few weeks. During this time it doesn’t even feed on anything. The beetle which is very hard to collect, is rather rare in private or public collections; although it can be purchased in bug fairs for several hundreds of Euros. In the Natural History Museum 2 specimens can be found. The smaller one is currently in a travelling exhibition, the bigger one never leaves the museum. So far the identity of the collector of the bigger one was not known.
Ákos Mender, student of the University of Szeged has been researching the oeuvre of traveler and hunter Gábor Molnár (1908–1980). According to the information gained so far and the accounts of Molnár he deducted that the beetle must have been caught by Gábor Molnár in Brazil.
„In the shadowy wilderness I acquired a handful of wonderful bugs and butterflies. The giant blue wasp, the „vespa” was caught along with the world’s largest bug, the Titan beetlel. Although it was only 14 centimetres long, I was offered 60 dollars for it. I did not sell it even in deprivation. The Titanus giganteus today  is still there int he bug collection of the Natural History Museum in Budapest. (My Sweet Amazonia, 1975; pages 59–60.)
The size of the giant beetle, which is mentioned by Molnár; the fact that in 1972 Molnár stated that it was still in the museum and it was the only specimen at the time gives ample proof that this is the very Titanus giganteus collected by the hunter in 1931.