Stag beetle

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Dorcus curvidens male (left) and female (right)

Stag beetles are a family of about 1,200 species of beetles in the family Lucanidae. They are first found in the mid Jurassic period.[1]

Male stag beetles use their jaws to wrestle with each other. They fight over females and over food, such as tree sap or decaying fruits. Despite their appearance they are not normally aggressive to humans. Adults spend the winter underground in the soil and usually emerge from mid-May onwards. They can fly, and need to because they have to cover large distances.[2]

The larvae live in rotting wood for several years going through three larval stages.

A well-known species in much of Europe is Lucanus cervus, known as the stag beetle. It is the largest land insect in Europe.

References[change | change source]

  1. Kim, Sang Il; Farrell, Brian D. 2015. Phylogeny of world stag beetles (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) reveals a Gondwanan origin of Darwin's stag beetle. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 86: 35–48. [1]
  2. Goyens J, Van Wassenbergh S, Dirckx J, Aerts P. 2015 Cost of flight and the evolution of stag beetle weaponry. J. R. Soc. Interface 12: 20150222. [2]