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Airborne With Antlers!

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At up to 60mm long Stag beetles are the largest wild beetles found in the UK.  In May they emerge from their underground pupal cases, and on warm evenings take to the air.

The sight of such a large beetle in flight is quite amazing, and their flight is a little unstable, to say the least!  At this stage of life they don't even feed.  Their sole objective now is to find a mate, and once they've mated they'll die.

Stag beetles are named after the pincers on the heads of the males which look a little like deer antlers.  It's frequently thought that the pincers are dangerous, but they're only used in territorial fights with rival males.  The females also have pincers (mandibles) but they are much smaller.

A similar looking beetle is the Lesser Stag Beetle, although as the name suggests this is a smaller insect, and only grows to around 30mm in length.

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