Physical characteristics: The body of a European stag beetle is dark brown or black. Males have a broad head with antler-like jaws and reach a total length of 1.4 to 2.95 inches (35 to 75 millimeters). Females have smaller heads and jaws and measure 1.2 to 1.8 inches (30 to 45 millimeters).
Geographic range: This species is found in central, southern, and western Europe; Asia Minor; and Syria.
Habitat: The European stag beetle lives in old oak forests.
Diet: The adults feed on sap, while larvae eat rotting wood.
Behavior and reproduction: Males use their big jaws against other males in battles over females. Females lay their eggs in old rotten logs and stumps. The larvae reach adulthood in three to five years. Adults
The male stag beetle shows off his large jaws that he uses against other males in battles over females. (©Nigel Cattlin/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
mature in fall but remain in their pupal cases until the following summer.
European stag beetles and people: This species was once thought of as a symbol of evil and bad luck.
Conservation status: This species is not listed as endangered or threatened. Still, it is legally protected in several European countries. ■
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