Belongs to: beetles

Stag beetle Lucanus cervus

European conservation concern

Best time to see: Jun to mid Aug

Key facts

Britain's biggest beetle, quite harmless despite its ferocious appearance;

Habitat: rough areas within reach of rotting timber, such as near woodland

Widespread across Britain and most common in the south-east


Male has huge jaws shaped like antlers; both sexes black with a violet colouring to wing-cases; length of male up to 7 cm

Male's jaws are used in courtship to intimidate and prise over rivals and do not have enough strength to bite

Most likely to be seen around at dusk in summer, flying around clumsily in search of mates


Female searches out rotting stumps or logs to lay her eggs, preferring oak but also using fruit trees

The fat white larvae spend up to three years feeding on wood before forming a pupa

The pupa spends the winter in a small chamber in the wood, emerging the following spring

© unknown

© Owen Keen