Common Name: Stag beetle
Scientific Name: Lucanus elaphus Fabricius
Description: Stag beetles are large, robust beetles typically dark brown in color. They have the club of the antennae with the segments separated rather than compact like scarab beetles. Males have elongated mandibles that are used to joust with rival males. Females have more normal jaws. Size is variable and ranges from 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Larvae are similar in shape to white grubs of Scarabeidae but larger. There are relatively few species of stag beetles in Texas. The giant stag beetle (above), Lucanus elephas Fabricius, has males with more elaborately branched and extended mandibles. Some tropical forms have very elongated mandibles in the males.
Life Cycle: Larvae take a year or multiple years to develop. Adult emergence peaks in late May and June (spring and summer).
Habitat and Food Source(s): Larvae develop in damp, decaying wood. Adults are sometimes attracted to lights. Adults can also be found near stumps or rotting logs.
Pest Status: Adults may feed on leaves but Texas species are seldom common enough to be considered pests. They may bite if handled.
Management: None, not considered a pest.
Literature: Dillon and Dillon 1972.