Stag Beetle – Pseudolucanus

Stag Beetle – Pseudolucanus capreolus

Stag Beetle - Pseudolucanus capreolus

Relatively large beetles of the family Lucanidae are commonly known as stag beetles, after the males’ elaborately branched and toothed mandibles, resembling the antlers of a stag. Stag beetles number only about 30 species in North America. They have chewing mouthparts and hardened outer wings, called elytra, which are used exclusively to cover the softer, membraneous flying wings underneath. The elytra meet in a straight line down the middle of the back.

Their antennae are elbowed, with a club of leaf-like plates called lamellae, much as their cousins, the scarab beetles. However, the scarabs can furl their lamellae (close the fan, so to speak) and the stags cannot.

This female specimen is about 1 inch long. I found her  wandering across the bike path one evening. I must confess to a bit of manipulation – I moved her into the foliage and posed her. What a magnificent insect!

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Tree Encyclopedia / Insects & Spiders

Online since 2002