Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Giant Stag Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/15/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The hefty body and extended mandibles make the Giant Stag Beetle the largest Stag in North America.
It's not hard to see what makes the Giant Stag Beetle so fascinating. It is enormous, boasting lengths at 6 cm (over 2 inches). Flattened bumps round out the back of the male's head. Large curved mandibles that look like formidable pincers grace the front of the male's head; females have much shorter, more ordinary mandibles. Males use these to fight with other males over females. Its coloring is a hue somewhere between black and maroon. It is the largest species of its kind in the Stag family.
Giant Stag Beetles drink leaking tree sap as well as the sticky, sweet honeydew secreted by aphids on plant stems. They can be found on or around oak trees, rotting tree stumps and logs. They are most active at night, where cover of dark can aid in camouflaging them from predators. Like moths, however, they seem to be attracted to lights and may wander closer to homes and buildings where a fortunate person will get to see it in all its glory.