Facts about Stag Beetles, "Scientific name for Stag Beetle is Lucanidae". The Stag beetle is a moderately sized family of large beetles that attains lengths of one to four inches (2.5 to 10 cm). In the United States of America, there are thirty different species of the Stag Beetle. About twenty of them are distributed in the western part of the country while else Kentucky alone boasts of being home to many of the several remaining species. Like most species of beetles, the Stag Beetle has chewing mouth parts and hardened elytra (front wings) that when closed meet in a straight line at the back down the abdomen. The Stag Beetles have spiny tibia on their long legs. The colors of the stag beetles may be either reddish brown or black. The Stag Beetles have antennae that are normally elbowed with a comb-like club at their ends. Another species of beetles that bears much resemblance with the stag beetle is the Bess Beetles (Passalidae). However, unlike the stag beetle, Bess beetle does not have elbowed-antennae. Also, the Bess beetle has a horn, something that the stag beetle lacks.
Reproduction and Feeding of Stag Beetle
The Stag Beetle, just like ever other species of beetle, undergoes a “complete” metamorphosis with the egg, larvae, pupal and the adult stages. Females of the many different species of the Stag Beetle lay their eggs under or on the bark of fallen dead trees. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae chew their way into the dead tree where they feed on juices of decaying tree matter. The complete development process of the Stag Beetles takes several years. The larva is known to pupate in small chambers in the soil near dead tree. The Stag Beetle do this near their source of food. Once the development process is over and the Stag Beetle reaches its adult stage, it emerges from under the barks and decaying matter and starts searching for a mate. Sometimes the males will fight away other males using their huge jaws during the process of mating as they have to fight over females. However, not all specials exhibit this behavior. Adult stag beetles can live up to one or two years depending on the species of the beetle.
Attributes of Stag Beetle
Unlike most beetle species, stag beetles are slow movers that climbed well and believed to feed on aphid honeydew, sap, leaves. Most of the Stag Beetles thrive in wooded areas. However, a number of the stag beetle species in some parts of the world live in beaches. There exists little information about the stag beetle’s feeding habits. Nevertheless, during summer, these beetles are seen flying to lights at night. In defense, the stag beetle will rear back holding its head high with open mandibles.
The Stag Beetle Importance
Since the stag beetle larvae helps in the decomposition of dead trees (just like ants, worms and other boring animals do), they are essential in the forest ecosystem. Reports indicate that there is no healthy hardwood forest in Kentucky that has no stag beetle larvae. This just indicates how predominant this species of beetles are. The Stag Beetle and their larvae are food for animals such as lizards, birds, toads, snakes, centipedes, raccoons, and mustellids (the skunks and weasels).