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It can reach a length of about 25–60 millimetres (0.98–2.36 in) in the females. As common in some Scarabaeidae, the males are larger than the females, reaching a length of about 60–130 millimetres (2.4–5.1 in).
The males have specialised horns on the head and thorax that they use to fight with each other to gain mating rights with females. The Atlas beetle differs from other Chalcosoma species (such as C. caucasus) in the end of the cephalic (head) horn of the Atlas, which is broadened.
nverified reports exist of larvae that live together fighting to the death if there's not enough space or food.