Laboratory of Woodland Ecology
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The Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus)
 

It is one of the largest beetles in Europe and one of the few insect species that are not only well known to nature enthusiasts but also the broad public. The species, which displays prominent sexual dimorphism, bears its common name because of the males´ massively enlarged mandibles. These are used when the beetles wrestle each other in competition for access to females to mate with. The larvae of this species develop in the stem and roots of old, dying trees or tree stumps, where they feed on the sap- and heartwood. Therefore the stag beetle belongs to the group of saproxylic (dead wood dependent) beetles. Because of the declining occurrence of its required dead wood resources the species is considered as endangered in Europe and is protected within the Natura 2000 network (´Habitats Directive`). In the Czech Republic the stag beetle is recognized as endangered according to the national red list. Today it mostly occurs in man made made habitats where old grown trees are retained, such as traditional fruit orchards, parks, tree alleys along roads or watercourses, and pasture woodlands. Because of its prominence the stag beetle has become an important umbrella species for the protection of the saproxylic community.

 
Related papers

Lucanus cervus - Metodika Péče [Czech]

Lucanus cervus - Distribution Map