Abstract To obtain new ideas on optimal composite material structure, the fine structures of the trabeculae of the elytra of Allomyrina dichotoma (Iinné) and Prosopocoilus inclinatus (Motschulsky) were investigated using scanning electron microscope. The shape and size of trabeculae, which form the internal bridges between the upper and lower surfaces of the elytra, depend on the species of beetles. Complex surface structures (stripes or bandings) were found in those of A. dichotoma, but less in P. inclinatus. The trabeculae consisted of three parts: the surface part, the cylindrical layer and the central part. The surface and the central part were mainly protein substances which could be dissolved by KOH. The cylindrical layer had many chitin fibers with different orientation, and they were embedded in a protein matrix, and were connected to endocuticle chitin fibers on the upper and lower parts of the lamination.