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beetle Stag Beetles

Identify It >   Invertebrate Section >   Beetle Section >   Stag Beetles >


Scientific name:  Lucanus cervus

Size:  The male Stag Beetle grows to about 90mm in length, including the antlers, and the female Stag Beetle grows to around 60mm

Distribution:  Found mainly in the south and south east of England.  Hot spots for the Stag Beetle are Dorset, Surrey, Greater London (especially Bromley, Croydon and Lewisham), Essex, Kent, Berkshire, Bucks, Hampshire, Herts, Suffolk, West Sussex and Oxfordshire

Months seen:  Seen flying at dusk from May to August

Life span:  Adult beetles live for up to 8 weeks

Habitat:  Woodlands and gardens

Food:  Tree sap.  The larvae eat rotting wood

Special features:  Stag Beetles are the largest beetles found in the U.K. and they're now quite rare.  The decline of our Stag Beetles is mainly as a result of habitat loss.  Some are killed by cars on roads, and since they spend such a long time in the larval stage they are also vulnerable to predation.

The most noticeable features of the male Stag Beetles are the large antler-like jaws, which give the beetle its name.  They are used during the mating season to fight with other males over territory.  Each male tries to grab his opponent between his jaws, and then throw him.

The fully grown male stag beetles can normally be seen flying at dusk between May and August.  They look quite unstable in flight, and their wings make a loud buzzing sound.  The warmer temperatures of late spring encourage them to look for a mate.  They will drink tree sap, but do not eat, and will not grow at all.  After mating the male Stag Beetles die.

The females can be recognised by the much smaller jaws.  Although both the male and female Stag Beetles can give you a pinch, they are quite harmless.  Females lay their eggs in, or near, rotten wood, and then die.

The larvae (grubs) which hatch from the eggs, have cream coloured bodies with an orange head and orange legs.  They live and feed in the rotting wood for up to six years.

When fully grown, the larvae leave the wood to pupate in the soil.  This occurs in the summer, while the weather is still warm, and lasts a few weeks.  The fully grown beetle remains in this state until the following summer when it emerges as an adult beetle.

Sightings


2000 - Osterley, Middlesex - G. Bradley

2012 - Yateley, Surrey - Phil Jansz
2012 - Camberwell, London - Tom Bamford
2012 - Ash, Surrey - Hilton Tosh
2012 - Ipswich, Suffolk - Chloe Sheffield
2012 - between Holbury and Beaulieu, Hampshire - Leon Rea
2012 - Woodham, Surrey - G. Bradley
2012 - Poole, Dorset - Dee Terrot

2013 - Colchester, Essex - Marcus Tricker
2013 - Sidcup, Kent - Hugo Lee Jay
2013 - Kilburn, London - Laura Riding
2013 - Wimborne, Dorset - Andy Richardson
2013 - Leatherhead, Surrey - James Morris
2013 - Southampton, Hampshire - Malky Bibliowicz
2013 - Cowfold, West Sussex - Doreen Squires
2013 - Enfield, Middlesex - Ray Stevens
2013 - Egham, Surrey - Will Finch
2013 - Poole, Dorset - Linda Runte
2013 - Poole, Dorset - Dee Terrot
2013 - Southampton, Hampshire - Kailua + Bayden Lane
2013 - Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire - Geoff Jones
2013 - Waterlooville, Hampshire - Neil Bertram (photo)

2014 - Ringwood, Hampshire - Nicholas Gill
2014 - Woking, Surrey - Jason Reddall (photo)
2014 - Wimbledon, S.W. London - Toby Eyre
2014 - Stepney, London E1 - Chris Fry (photo)
2014 - Guildford, Surrey - J. Grzyb
2014 - Christchurch, Dorset - Samantha Roberts (photo)
2014 - Billingshurst, West Sussex - Nicola Summers
2014 - Dale Hall CP School, Ipswich - Vince Whitrow
2014 - Dorking, Surrey - Victoria Sadler (photo)
2014 - Ipswich - Joanna Ward
2014 - Colchester, Essex - Mark Lee (photo)
2014 - Fulham Broadway, London - Mitch Goldman (photo)

2015 - Balham, S. London - Graham Morrison (photo)
2015 - Southampton, Hampshire - Pauline Watson (photo)
2015 - Aldershot, Hampshire - Rosemary Aggett (photo)
2015 - Southampton, Hampshire - Pauline Watson (photo)
2015 - Caversham, Reading, Berks - Brian Fullard (photo)
2015 - Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire - Caroline Brownlie
2015 - Tooting Bec, South London - Giannina Walsh (photo)
2015 - Burley, Ringwood, Hampshire - Tracey Richards (photo)
2015 - Boscombe, Dorset - Victoria Oxborrow
2015 - South Norwood, Croydon - Hanaa Ennis (photo)
2015 - Allington, Kent - Rob Barton (photo)
2015 - Bexley, Kent - Barry Cusselle (photo)
2015 - Tulse Hill, London - James Edwards (photo)
2015 - Hampstead Heath, London - Ali Demirtas & George Emerson (photo)
2015 - Church Crookham, Fleet, Hampshire - William Matthews (photo)

2016 - Dorking, Surrey - Rowan Matthews
2016 - Pangbourne, Berkshire - Darren Gibson (photo)
2016 - East Sheen, London SW14 - Chris Murray (photo)
2016 - Bishopstoke, Hampshire - Emma Tratt (photo)
2016 - London E17 - Margaret Fielding (photo)
2016 - Ipswich, Suffolk - Ryan Hardman (photo)
2016 - Stanford-le-Hope, Essex - Joanne Baker (photo)
2016 - Wolverhampton, West Midlands - Avril and Gary Cullen (photo)

2017 - Eastleigh, Hampshire - Emma Tratt (photo)
2017 - Woodley, Berkshire - Mike Houldsworth (photo)
2017 - Collier Row, Essex - Jake Witham (photo)
2017 - Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire - Sam Wilson (photo)
2017 - Acton, West London - James Hayman (photo)
2017 - Mapledurham, Berkshire - Hayley Emptage (photo)
2017 - Felixstowe, Suffolk - Taegan Johnson (photo)
2017 - Whitstable, Kent - Alan Gower
2017 - West Bergholt, Essex - Philip Heyes (photo)
2017 - Faversham, Kent - Steve McEvoy (photo)
2017 - Collier Row, Essex - Jake Witham (photo)
2017 - Lower Parkstone, Poole, Dorset - Jan Goulden (photo)
2017 - Streatham, South London - Kirsty McNeill (photo)

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