Beetles in fiction and folklore are sometimes used as symbols of thunder and lightning, if not given actual electric powers. Interestingly, this association seems to have arisen independently both in Europe and in East Asia.
Stag beetles are the most likely to receive this treatment, with Lucanus cervus actually being referred to as "thunder beetles" in some cultures (see the Real Life section below). The firefly is another common candidate, with its ability to produce flashes of light leading some species to be nicknamed "lightning bugs". In Japan this is also common for kabuto-mushi (Japanese rhino beetles), owing to the popularity of that species.
A Sister Trope to Scarab Power and Tough Beetles. Sub-Trope of Shock and Awe. Compare Electric Jellyfish.
- Kabuterimon and its relatives (based on rhino beetles) fight with various electric attacks, most famously "Mega Blaster" ("Electro Shocker" in the dub). Its counterparts in the stag-beetle-based Kuwagamon family usually do not follow this theme (focusing on Absurdly Sharp Jaws instead), with the exception of the explicitly robotic Kokuwamon and BladeKuwagamon species. Kabuterimon's previous form, Tentomon, is based on a ladybug, but uses an electrical attack like its more highly-evolved forms.
- AncientBeetlemon was an ancient, powerful insectoid Digimon known as the Legendary Warrior of Thunder, as it possessed several powerful electrogenic attacks, and the ancestor of all modern Insect Digimon. As a result, the prominence of Shock and Awe powers is future lines of beetle Digimon is likely directly caused by AncientBeetlemon's association with electricity.
- Digimon Frontier: Blitzmon and Bolgmon (renamed Beetlemon and MetalKabuterimon in the dub) are aspects of AncientBeetlemon. Blitzmon's attacks have references to Thor, while Bolgmon references the Fir Bolg.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Lutecia Alpine can use Summon Magic to conjure Jiraiou, giant horned beetles that shoot lightning from their horns.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS: Tyler Getz (Getta Taira in the Japanese version) duels his former bandmate, Roa, with his deck is composed of Thunderbeetle monsters. As their names imply, they are electrically-charged beetles with a drum motif.
- Blue Beetle: The Jaime Reyes incarnation of the Blue Beetle wears a suit of scarab-themed Powered Armor and generally uses thunder and electricity powers.
- My Little Pony: Legends of Magic Annual 2018: The creatures the main characters encounter in the Alternate Universe include literal lightning bugs, enormous firefly-like insects that attack by shooting jolts of electricity from their glowing abdomens.
- The Godzilla kaiju Megalon, which appeared in Godzilla vs. Megalon, is a monster that resembles a bipedal rhinoceros beetle. One of his plethora of powers is the ability to fire a yellow lightning beam from his horn.
- Kamen Rider:
- The hero of Kamen Rider Stronger is an "Electric Human" and the first Kamen Rider to be themed after a beetle (specifically a kabutomushi) rather than a grasshopper. Likewise for his sidekick Electro-Wave Human Tackle, who is themed after a ladybird.
- Kamen Rider Blade is themed after a Hercules beetle and has lightning as his Elemental Power, accessed through the Thunder Deer card.
- While Kamen Rider Kabuto doesn't have explicit lightning attacks, all of the special effects of his moves, in particular his Rider Kick, have electrical effect.
- In Kamen Rider OOO, the Kuwagata Medal grants OOO a helmet with the jaws of a stag beetle as horns, giving him the power to shoot lightning (at the cost of also electrifying himself).
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Season 2 monster "Stag Beetle" fought with electrified claws.
- In Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger: The Gouraiger duo, themed after the Japanese Beetle Brothers, possess thunder-based powers in contrast to the main trio's wind-based ones. Likewise for their Power Rangers Ninja Storm counterparts, the Thunder Rangers.
- Diablo II's second act fields giant, vaguely humanoid beetles that spam incredibly powerful lightning attacks when hit in melee. They're comparatively rare, but their elite and boss versions can kill even high-level player characters in a single blast if their attacker doesn't boast very good lightning resistance, which makes them the early-game bane of any melee-focused class.
- In The Elder Scrolls Online there are Thunderbugs, which are large blue-and-yellow scarab-like beetles with lightning powers.
- Mega Man Zero has the boss Herculious Anchus, also known as Herculious Anchortus, a Reploid based on the hercules beetle who uses electrical attacks and is vulnerable to ice attacks. The sequel features his stag beetle brother Kuwagust Anchus, who can also use electricity and shares the same ice weakness.
- Monster Hunter Online has the Thunder Beetle Lightenna, which mostly resembles a rhino beetle.
- In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath the protagonist uses an electric beetle to fire off blasts of electricity via his crossbow. Aside from functioning like a stun gun it's also used to activate machines.
- Pikmin 2 has the Anode Beetle, which pair up to create electrical currents between them. It generally has no inspiration from horned, stag, or scarab beetles, though.
- Pokémon: Vikavolt, the Stag Beetle Pokémon, resembles a cross between a beetle and a railgun, using its long jaws as a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork to shoot lightning.
- Sonic The Hedgehog: The Spark Beetle robot employed by G.U.N. occasionally surrounds itself in an electric shield much like the ones the protagonists can pick up. However, it's a robot that only has a vague resemblance to an actual beetle.
- Temtem: Scarawatt and Scaravolt are Electric-type rhinoceros beetles, an association that's common in Japanese media, which their homeland of Cipanku is based on.
- Mighty Max: In the episode "Beetlemania", beetles are actually highly intelligent insectoid aliens. When they crashlanded on Earth long ago, they created a Humongous Mecha (from their perspective — it's "only" somewhat larger than humans) called Beetle-Ra to protect them from the hostile wildlife like dinosaurs (they crashlanded a really long time ago). Beetle-Ra can fire electrical blasts strong enough to bring down a T. rex.
- The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Lethal Lightning Bug", the eponymous creature is a gigantic lightning bug created when lightning strikes a swamp and imbued with the power to discharge deadly bolts of lightning.
- The Transformers:
- In "Cosmic Rust", the Decepticons found a beetle-like machine called the "Lightning Bug" which fired electric blasts.
- The Insecticon Shrapnel from the same era turns into a robotic stag beetle. His special ability is generating and channeling electricity, sometimes on a truly massive scale.
- Rick once made (among other troublingly unchildlike devices) a "Taser shaped like a ladybug" at Beth's request when she was younger.
- Stag beetles are known in some parts of England as "thunder beetles", due to being sighted flying in stormy weather, and were sometimes said to summon it.
- In Germany the stag beetle was believed to be a sacred animal of Thor, likely due to being found in oak trees that had been struck by lightning. Names for the stag beetle included donnergeug ("thunder beetle") and hausbrenner ("house-burner") — the latter from a belief that the beetles either carried coals in their jaws onto thatched roofs, or would cause houses they were brought into to be struck by lightning.
- There is also the Brachininae subfamily of beetles, commonly known as "bombardier beetles": The animals' abdomen contains an explosive device. When threatened, the beetle mixes two chemicals in this device. The resulting minuscule explosion blows them into the face of the attacker, accompanied by an audible, if also minuscule, crack.