Stag Beetle Facts

Here are some facts about stag beetles:

  • The name stag beetle refers to any species of beetle in which the jaws (mandibles) have evolved to look like a stag’s antlers. There are about 900 different species of stag beetles in the world.
  • Stag beetles are sometimes called pinching bugs.
  • Stag beetles are usually brown or black, but some species are brightly coloured. One of the stag beetles from Chile (Chaisognathus granti), for example, is a shiny green colour.
  • Some species of stag beetle have jaws which are almost as long as the rest of its body. This can severely limit the beetles movements.
  • If a stag beetles jaws clamp down on your finger, they can draw blood.
  • The giraffe stage beetle (from India) is one of the largest of the stage beetles. The males can grow to a length of nearly 100 mm.
  • Stag beetles spend most of their time in and around rotting logs.
  • The large jaws of the stag beetle are used in courtship rituals and during fights between two males beetles.
  • Stag beetle larvae can spend up to four years living in rotting wood before turning into mature beetles.
  • Stag beetle numbers are rapidly falling in Britain. They can still be found in southern England.
  • Most of Britain’s stag beetles are about 5 cm in length with red/brown antler jaws.
  • Female stag beetles are often smaller than the males, and they don’t have such prominent jaws.
  • Stag beetles are mostly nocturnal (they come out at night), and they are attracted to bright lights.
  • Stag beetles don’t use their jaws to catch prey. They eat sap.
  • Adult stag beetles usually only live for a couple of months.

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