Huge and supposedly intimidating, the male Stag Beetle is an impressive beast. With a long dark body tinged with gold and deep reds his truly crowning feature is his enormous mouthparts. Protruding from his head like a pair of antlers, this is how he gets his name. Despite his menacing appearance he is not a grumpy creature. Emerging from at least three years in a dead log he will climb up into the warm summer evening and spread his wings for the first time. Buzzing haphazardly he uses his antenna to locate a female who he will persue to mate with and continue his legacy. Once mated, the female will lay her eggs onto dead wood and the larva will burrow their way in. Adult Stag Beetles do not have long on this Earth and so they make the most of it, fighting and finding a female as fast as possible.
The larva live in dead wood and take at least three years to develop! So it's very important to leave big dead logs about and to not cut your lawns or verges in late may to late June to ensure the survival of these wonderful, protected species.
Stag Beetles are rare and protected so, if you’re lucky enough to find one, please make sure it’s safe and report your sightings to websites such as irecord.org.uk