Surname: Stag beetle
Other names: Hornschröter, Feuerschröter
Latin name: Lucanus cervus
size: male stag beetles up to 8cm, female stag beetles up to 4cm
Older: maximum two months
Appearance: black and red tank
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
food: sugary plant juices
original origin: Central Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
natural enemies: Birds
sexual maturity: immediately as a beetle
mating season: June August
Number of possible offspring: 1 - 15 eggs
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the stag beetle
- The stag beetle or Lucanus cervus is the largest species of beetle in Europe within the so-called Schröter, and has been protected for decades in many countries, including Germany and Austria.
- The stag beetle got its name because of the striking elongated mouthparts of the males, which remind in their form of the antlers of a deer. As dangerous as they may be, they can hardly inflict any injuries. They are also not used for food intake. They serve solely the showmanship to drive out male rivals.
- The females do not possess these pliers and are with a body length of maximally four centimeters also nearly half as small as the males. Common to both sexes are the reddish dark brown elytra, the black head and pronotum, as well as the foliated leaves at the upper end.
- Stag beetles are native to Central and Southern Europe as well as parts of Asia Minor and Asia, where they mainly inhabit oak forests and parks.
- Stag beetles live only for a few weeks from June to August. During this time, they go in search of food by flying with loud buzzing noise through the air, which seems very portly by their heavy body.
- As a food source, the stag beetles serve a sugary juice, which emerges from tree wounds. Since there are micro-organisms on the surface of these tree wounds, which ferment the Eichenzucker to alcohol, stag beetles are sometimes drunk from the licking of the juice and fall to the ground after food intake.
- Lured by the feeders, males and females meet here to mate.
- During the mating season fierce fighting between rival males is observed, in which both try to force their opponent out with their mouthparts and bump off the bark or twig. However, such struggles never end with serious injury or even the death of the loser.
- The female digs deep into the ground after mating and lays the eggs in rotten wood or dying tree roots, which later serve up to ten centimeters long larvae as food. Egg laying can take up to two weeks.
- The larvae transform the dead wood in the course of the metabolic processes in extremely nutrient-rich muck, but in turn can hardly absorb nutrients through the diet, which is why their development takes place only very slowly.
- It can take three to seven years for a larva to become a full-grown beetle.
- In recent years, the stocks of stag beetles are gradually increasing again. Researchers suspect that this is related to climate change.