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Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Stag Beetle.

 Updated: 2/6/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Looks can be deceiving. The Stag Beetle drinks sap and uses those intimidating mandibles for courting.



Common east of the Mississippi, Stag Beetles are noted for their large size and ferocious appearance, complete with a durable exoskeleton and imposing, pincer-like mandibles. The mandibles on the female are much shorter than that of the male, whose mandibles can be about the size of their heads. Among males, younger males have shorter mandibles than older ones. This species is different from other Stag Beetles thanks in part to the orange or yellow coloring at the base of each leg. Its exoskeleton appears very smooth and glossy with a rich dark red or brown hue to it.

They are primarily night dwellers and - like most nocturnal insects - are generally attracted to light sources at night. Despite having large, "menacing" mandibles, the Stag Beetle serves itself a steady diet of sap. The mandibles on the male are generally reserved for male-to-male combat when it comes time to woo a female Stag Beetle. The winning male gets the opportunity to mate.

Females lay fertilized eggs on dead trees or stumps. The grubs hatch and mature in the rotting wood.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Lucanidae
          Genus: Lucanus
            Species: capreolus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Lucanus capreolus
Other Name(s): Common Stag Beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 36mm (0.78in to 1.40in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black; orange; yellow
Descriptors: pincers, claw, pinchers, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
3
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
5
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
6
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
7
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.