Stag beetles are some of our most spectacular insects. There are three species of stag beetle in the UK.
Only one species of stag beetle found in the UK has large-jawed males - Lucanus cervus. Many species occur abroad, some with jaws far bigger than L. cervus. To see some of these spectacular foreign species check out the University of Nebraska State Museum's website
|Rhinoceros beetle (Sinodendron cylindricum) clearly showing the horn that characterises males © Steven Falk|
The Rhinoceros beetle, Sinodendron cylindricum (though that term is sometimes used for some scarabs and geotrupids too), is also termed the Horned stag beetle or Least stag beetle. However, it looks very unlike the other two stag beetles found in the UK and is much smaller (never exceeding 2cm). The male has a rhino-like horn on the head producing an appearance not unlike a tiny Triceratops dinosaur!
|Rhinoceros beetle, female (Sinodendron cylindricum) © Steven Falk ||Rhinoceros beetle, male (Sinodendron cylindricum) © Steven Falk|
This is the most widespread of the UKs stag beetles, with larvae that develop within sawdust-packed tunnels in the dry rotting wood of various tree species (including dead branches of living trees), but perhaps especially Beech. Paired males and females will often inhabit breeding tunnel for some time, with males guarding the tunnel entrance.
To find out more about stag beetles visit Buglife entomologist, Steven Falk’s flickr site