Tuesday 2 July 2013

More lesser stag beetles

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.

Dorsal view

 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.

For more posts on Lesser Stag beetles on BugBlog click here.


biobabbler said...

Those are pretty spectacular creatures, wow.

I have to say I LOVE your post title: an oxymoron if I've ever read one. =)

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you Biobabbler, I considered More on lesser... but I decided on the 'More lesser...' just because of the oxymoron

Maria Fremlin said...
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Maria Fremlin said...

Congratulations on your post! Very good observations! I wonder if the car was the real cause of their death.I love lesser stag beetles too; they are often overlooked and in Spain they are even known as l'olvidado'.
Interesting that you mentioned that they can live for several years. In my patch, Colchester, I have recapture one 666 days after its first capture. Still in the same stump. A shame that that street sculpture had to removed...

Pam said...

Hi there,I was in my kitchen yesterday, it has a tiled floor. I spotted this black insect on the floor. I picked it up with a tissue and went to let it out. First I had a quick look at it and was surprised it was a stag beetle! Never seen one before! It was just over 1" long with quite small 'jaws" I'm presuming it was a Lesser Stag Beetle according to your description or a young one.
I live in suberbs of Nottingham, a large garden next to a park with many trees. I cover a lot of the garden with bark chippings so perhaps it was attracted to all this do you think? Will there be more in my garden do you think? I shall now look out for them!