Scientific Name: Lucanus cervus (Lucanidae).
English Name: European Stag Beetle (Stag Beetle family).
French Name: Le Lucane cerf-volant (='the flying stag lucane' or 'kite') (males); la Grande biche (='the big hind') (females).
5 Key Characters:
- males have massive jaws which look like antlers.
- mahogany brown to black.
- often observed flying, which it does powerfully, but in a rather alarming out of control sort of fashion, hanging vertically in the air.
- middle tibia has 3 small teeth.
- size variable (35 - 95 mm) but tends to be on the larger end of the range in this area.
Lookalikes: Females could be mistaken for Lesser Stag Beetle Dorcus parallelopipedus, but they are much larger and usually browner.
Habitat: Deciduous forests. Larvae underground in decaying tree stumps and posts, especially oak. Pupates underground.
Adult Active Period: May-June-July-August.
Status: Widespread, but like all big beetles with lifespans that include several years as a larva in dead wood, they are becoming uncommon. The dead wood they require is often removed and destroyed rather than left to rot in situ. Protected.
Further Reading: Maria Fremlin has been involved in researching these impressive beetles for some years now and has an excellent website about them.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
|Female in the Forest of Loches.|