The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

May Species of the Month – Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus

May Species of the Month - Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus

May Species of the Month – Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus

Ecology and Conservation: The majority of the stag beetles life is actually lived underground as a larvae feeding on rotting wood. The beetle spends between 3 to 7 years in this state before pupating and emerging as an adult between May and August. As an adult the beetle will only live for one summer. Stag beetles have undergone a rapid decline in population range in the last 40 years thought to be due in part by our human habitat of tidying up parks and gardens by removing rotting wood but also contributing factors such as more frequent occurrence of unusual summer weather patterns and predation by common predators such as foxes, cats and magpies. The adults can often also be killed on roads and pavements as they are attracted to the warm tarmac. However stag beetles are locally common in certain places in Britain such as the Thames Valley and parts of the south west coast. Sandy, well drained soils are preferred by the female for digging down to lay eggs, this is thought to be one of the reasons why Bournemouth is a stag beetle hot spot.

Identification: Adult males can reach up to 75mm in length including the distinctive antler-like mouthparts. Females have smaller mouthparts and reach up to 45mm in length. Females are often found on the ground where they search for suitable egg laying sites whereas males can sometimes be seen flying at dusk in search of a mate.

Records: If you have seen a stag beetle in your garden or your local park/nature reserves in Bournemouth then please let us know.

Please email Heather Dixon: heatherdixon@bnss.org.uk

(Or online for those of you who have joined Living Record – if you are interested in wildlife recording contact Heather for details of how to join Living Record.)

Bournemouth Naturally 

The Bournemouth Naturally project aims to build up a picture of biodiversity in Bournemouth through creation of a database of your wildlife sightings. Each month will feature a species, if you have seen it in your garden or local greenspace then please let us know.

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