10 amazing facts about Stag Beetle

10 amazing facts about Stag beetle

The Stag beetle appears to be one of the biggest insects found in the United Kingdom. It is known to be a spectacular insect with over 1200 species. In European countries, the stag beetle is referred to as Lucanus Cervus that is the scientific name, and it happens to be the largest insect there. Stag beetle lives in deciduous woodlands and forests in Europe where they can find plenty of food. It feeds on leaves, decaying wood, and nectar. Here are some incredible stag beetle facts:

1. Habitat

  • stag beetle facts
  • Lollipop, a novel Stag beetle habitat
  • Stag beetle found in the woodlands of London, UK

The primary habitat of the Stag beetle is the woodlands. They also live in traditional orchards and gardens in Western Europe. Stag beetles can be found all over southern England. Female stag beetle lives in soil that is light so that it will be easy for them to dig and lay their eggs. It will also be easy for adult Stag beetle to come out of the soil when they reach maturity. They require areas of the lowest rainfall and highest air temperature to survive.

2. Identification

  • Male (left) and female (right) Stag beetle
  • A male Stag beetle
  • A female Stag beetle

It’s easy to identify the male Stag beetle and the female Stag beetle, though they both have shiny black head and thorax. Male Stag beetles do have huge antlers and have a bigger mandible. It is usually displayed in courtship and used to wrestle with other male stag beetles.

Adult male Stag beetle has different sizes that range from 35mm to 70mm long. The female Stag beetle is much smaller in size and ranges from 30mm to 50mm, and has a smaller but stronger mandible. They are always seen on the ground looking for places to lay their eggs. Female stag beetles usually have brown shining wing cases. However, their larva always has an orange head and legs with smooth skin and can be 110mm long. They can be found at about half a meter inside the ground or in woodlands.

3. Predators

  • A dramatic frog and beetle confrontation
  • stag beetle predators

Crows, Cats, kestrel, foxes, and others are the natural predators of a Stag beetle. They usually strike when adult Stag beetles seek to mate and lay their eggs. This is considered an important stage in their life cycle. The increase in the number of these predators tends to greatly affect the population of the Stag beetle.

4. Diet

  • A fully grown Stag beetle larva
  • Stag beetle sitting on a loquat tree
  • Male Stag beetle enjoying a ripe juicy melon
  • Female Stag beetle feeding at the end of the season

The Stag beetles at their larva stage are found in the decaying roots and tree stumps. One of the amazing Stag beetle facts is that for many years these larvae feed on rotting wood before they finally develop into an adult Stag beetle. Adult Stag beetles cannot feed on solid food. Instead, they depend wholly on the fat reserve they built up during their larva stage. . They have a feathery tongue which they use for drinking from the rotting soft fruits and sap run.

5. Threat

  • Humans are one of the primary threats to Stag beetles
  • A stag beetle lying dead on a rock
  • A Stag beetle pushing a crushed dead beetle along the ground

Another amazing Stag beetle fact is that the major threat to them are humans, as they aid the loss of habitat of the male and female Stag beetle. Many open spaces and woodlands that stag beetle use as their habitats are being developed over time, thus destroying their habitats. Also, the removal of decaying wood from gardens and woodlands will reduce their habitat. The decaying wood is the habitat and source of food for stag beetle at their larva stage.

One of the facts about stag beetle is that the weather can also be a threat to them. The changing weather will affect the stag beetle. The dry or wet weather affects the larvae while the wet and windy weather affects the flying ability of the stag beetle. However, adult stag beetle loves warm surfaces of pavement and they are liable to be crushed by passers-by. They are also threatened because of their look. Stag beetles look scary, and people tend to kill them because of their dangerous look. 

6. Breeding

  • two male stag beetles fighting on dead wood
  • Stag beetles breeding.
  • View of a nearly mature egg of a Stag beetle.
  • A fully grown Stag beetle larva

Male Stag beetle flies at dusk looking for a mate. They usually wrestle with other males for a favored mating site over female Stag beetle. They might also wrestle over food such as decaying soft fruits, with their large mandible. During their fight, the chief purpose is to dislodge the opponents’ tarsal claws with their mandible that disrupts their balance.

The female Stag beetle can also fly, but they prefer to walk on the ground. After they have mated, the female stag beetle goes back to where they emerged. They then check for the rotten wood that will sustain their young ones. Female Stag beetles dig deep into the soil to lay their eggs in the wood. main 

7. Status and conservation

  • A group of stag beetles found dead in suburbs
  • Trodden male Stag beetle corpse oozing fat

In the UK, stag beetles are protected legally from the sale, and the stag beetle species are referred to as ‘priority species’ according to the wildlife and countryside act. Any species listed are protected from disturbance by prohibiting actions that can affect the place they use for shelter. This act also protects against killing and taking, destruction or obstruction of the place of shelter, and selling or advertising for sale. All these are what are listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Therefore, if Stag beetles or their larvae are present in a site that’s proposed for the project, and the stag beetle is likely to be affected by the project, it’s advised that someone with the knowledge of insect requirements should be present to perfectly translocate the stag beetle to another natural habitat close by.

8. Habits

  • a male stag beetle basking in the sun

Most of the life of a Stag beetle is spent underground as larvae. The duration depends on the weather and can range from 3 to 7 years. Cold weather is favorable for them, and it likely extends the process. Once they mature, they leave the rotting wood. The male basks during the day to have strength for flying in the evening.

9. Colour

  • A female metallic Stag beetle shot in Selangor, Malaysia
  • A bright yellow colored Stag beetle.
  • A stunning rainbow Stag beetle
  • A reddish-brown Stag beetle

Stag beetles come in different colors but are majorly brown or black. However, other colors of stag beetles are yellow, green, blue, and white.

10. Number of species

  • Giant stag beetles at Kew, UK
  • A group of Stag beetles.

Stag beetles have several species all over the world, counting up to 1200 in the family Lucanidae. Some stag beetle species grow to over 12cm, while the majority of the stag beetle species are about 5cm.

One of the largest beetles in the world, the Stag beetles are basically harmless. They feed on your decaying wood and live under the ground. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is working hard to save these, now rare species. They have been working tirelessly for over 20 years to protect them and raise awareness among the locals to value old trees. The Stag beetle weekend is celebrated all over the United Kingdom every year, in the month of June.

Want to read more interesting facts about animals you haven’t heard before. Click here to read some amazing facts about the glass frog, an animal that is totally transparent.

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