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Lucanus cervus

Lucanus cervus.jpg

Lucanus cervus
Lucanus cervus cervus

Lucanus cervus is A threatened species of Stag Beetle in the family Lucanidae.


Lucanus cervus is situated in the genus Lucanus within the family Lucanidae. In the genus there are two subgenera: Lucanus and Pseudolucanus. The species L. cervus contains four subspecies. The nominate subspecies L. cervus cervus (Linnaeus, 1758) was established via the original description of the species in. The three latterly added subspecies are L. cervus judaicus, L. cervus laticornis, and L. cervus turcicus . L. cervus akbesianus


Mating Rivalry

Lucanus cervus, is named after the appearance of the male: a large beetle with impressive jaws resembling antlers of a deer. These jaws are a weird creation of evolution as they are used to impress and fight with male competitors. Sometimes they even scare away predators such as woodpeckers and owls. While the males can be between 4 and 9 cm long, females are smaller around 3 to 4 cm. Also, females have much smaller jaws. Sometimes the female can be confused with other species. Here is described how to distinguish them from other species with a similar appearance. A trained eye might distinguish these different species mainly based on their general form but this might be more difficult for people that have never tried to distinguish these species. A first thing to look at is the number of antennal lamella at the end of the antenna. Lucanus cervus has in general 4, but 5 can rarely occur and 6 or 7 are very exceptional. Only in Greece, Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey, populations occur with entirely or predominantly 6 lamella (the so called turcicus form). This species has the largest variability in size (M: 25-92mm, F: 27-50mm). The male mandibles are long compared to all the following species and has many denticles at the inner side. The large median tooth is positioned over the middle of the mandible and the apex (end) is mostly bifid (splitting in two end points). The body is slender and of a dull color. The pronotal side is not sinuate before the blunt posterior angle.




dults appear during late May to the beginning of August, being most active in the evenings. Females lay their eggs in a piece of decaying wood deep in the soil. Stag beetle larvae, which are blind and shaped like a letter "C", feed on rotting wood in a variety of places, tree stumps, old trees and shrubs, rotting fence posts, compost heaps, and leaf mould. The larvae have a cream-coloured, soft, transparent body with six orange legs, and an orange head which is very distinct from the very sharp brown pincers. They have combs in their legs which they use for communication (stridulation) with other larvae. The larvae go through several instars (stages), taking 1 to 3 years to become pupae. The work of entomologist Charlie Morgan during the late 1970s discovered that the pupae of the stag beetle live in the soil for about 3 months, then emerge in summer to awkwardly fly off to mate. Adults only live for a few weeks, feeding on nectar and tree sap. Their slow, lumbering flight, usually at dusk, makes a distinctive low-pitched buzzing sound. The males fly more readily than the females.


The Stag's habitat is destroyed by forest management that chop down rotten wood. Because the Stag relies on this, it consumes the wood off of wood posts. Their communication is by the special organ applied to the leg. At night, they fly around at forests. Their larva feed on the wood. Stag beetles are hunted by many predators, disturbing the population. Their only defence is stiffness.