Stag beetles are one of our most spectacular insects, named because the male’s large jaws look just like the antlers of a stag. They spend most of their life underground as larvae, only emerging for a few weeks to find a mate and reproduce. Stag beetles and their larvae are quite harmless and a joy to watch.
The stag beetles head and thorax (middle section) are shiny black and their wing cases are chestnut brown.
Male beetles appear to have huge antlers. They are actually over-sized mandibles, used in courtship displays and to wrestle other male beetles. Adult males vary in size from 35mm – 75mm long and tend to be seen flying at dusk in the summer looking for a mate.
Female beetles are smaller at between 30-50mm long, with smaller mandibles. They are often seen on the ground looking for somewhere to lay their eggs.
A fully-grown stag beetle larva (grub) can be up to 110mm long. They’re fairly smooth skinned, have orange head and legs and brown jaws. They are nearly always found below ground and can be as deep as half a metre down.