Tuesday 7 July 2009

A lesser stag beetle

Other than ladybirds, the occasional carabid or a few weevils, beetles do not figure very high on the list of common garden visitors. I was so pleasantly surprised when on Sunday, while tidying up the garden we came across a Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parellelipipedus). These large, grey-black beetles, related to the Stag Beetle, are not uncommon in the UK, but sightings are rare north of the Humber according to the National Biodiversity Network Gateway. The adults and larvae feed on decaying wood - particularly ash, apple and beech. This is the second one I see in Hull. We live in a street lined with large trees and I collect dead fallen branches - including those from a large ash - from the verges and bring them to our garden for our log pile (we also used those for our bee posts). The log pile (see this for an interesting page on log piles) tends to be full of common critters like snails, woodlice and earthworms, nothing very exciting. Occasionally Digger Wasps nest in the decaying wood and I would like to think this beetle was actually born in the garden.

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