Monday, July 16, 2007


Who's a lucky boy then?

That's who.

I know many people who would, on finding this in the sitting room, run a country-mile!
Not my girlfriend though.

She found this Lesser Stag Beetle lying under the tv remote control on the arm of one of our sofas, and calmly popped him in a tumbler, to wait for me to get home a few hours later, to positively identify it! (Although she did baulk somewhat, when I began to try to get him in position for a photo shoot, using a tool from her personal hygiene bag, a set of tweezers)!

This is a male Lesser Stag Beetle, 2.5cm long. I don't know what it was doing under the remote control, perhaps it wanted to watch something on tv, I wouldn't like to say.

There are two species of Stag Beetles in the UK, and although they are not particularly rare, they are protected and declining rapidly in numbers.

There is the Stag Beetle (proper) and the Lesser Stag Beetle.

If you find a male Stag Beetle, and it makes you exclaim "Kerreist! Check out the jaws (look like Stag antlers) on that"! - its a male Stag Beetle (proper) - up to 7.5cm long including its "antlers".

Stag Beetles generally are bigger, more rotund and browner than Lesser Stag Beetles also.

Some say Stag Beetles (proper) also have a 'swagger' about them. They know they're the daddy, and if you try to handle one, it will walk sedately away, whereas the Lesser Stag Beetle will either freeze, with its legs pulled in towards its body, or scuttle away quite quickly.

There may be some confusion though between female Stag Beetles and male Lesser Stag Beetles. Remember the size (Lesser Stags rarely bigger than 3cm, female Stags often bigger than that;the colour differences - Stags browny black, Lesser Stags black; the flatter profile of the Lesser Stags and you'll probably be ok. There are really key differences, mainly to do with ridges and spines on their tibia, but you really could do without knowing them I'm sure.

All Stag Beetles live in rotting timber (lots of that in our siting rom??!!) - their larval stage can exist in an old railway sleeper for example, for up to 7 years.
They all fly in humid, moist summer evenings, in a very cumbersome, drunken fashion, rather like the Chafers.

Very nice visitor to our house though. And top marks to Anna again, because at first she thought it was a Cockroach - and she really does not like them!

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