My kids found two live Lesser Stag Beetles on the pavement near the tree stump, now covered on flowers, where they grow. I couldn't resist the photo opportunity. As they often get squished, we took them home for release in our log pile after a few photos. This year we have found 4 females (2 live, 2 squished) and this male. They are my favourite beetle, the males are so powerful looking but still they have nice large smiling eyes. If I tickled him on the head with a small stick, he raised the front of his body and opened his jaws wide (above), awesome!
Male on relaxed position.
Female (left) and male (right). This is one photo in which I positioned both individuals opposite each other. Note the differently sized head and mandibles, despite similar length. The surfacing of thorax and head are also different in both sexes, in the male they look matt, while in the female they are punctated and shiny. Both sexes dig soft, rotting wood with their legs. The male still had some wood stuck to his legs.
This view shows the 'tooth' on the jaws.
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