STAG BEE­TLES

Crea­tures that just love Suf­folk

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Stag bee­tle lar­vae live un­der­ground for sev­eral years, feed­ing on rot­ting wood. When they reach full size they build an un­der­ground co­coon, in­side which they turn into an adult bee­tle. Of­ten, the first sign of an emer­gent male, which can be up to 70mm long, is their im­pres­sive mandibles pok­ing from a hole in the ground.

Males are most likely seen in flight on a warm sum­mer evening be­tween May and Au­gust as they search for a fe­male. Af­ter mat­ing, the fe­male, who lacks the for­mi­da­ble-look­ing jaws of the male, searches for un­der­ground de­cay­ing wood and tun­nels down­wards through the soil to lay her eggs.

It can take up to five years for the stag bee­tle’s lar­vae to de­velop into adults. They live as adults for only a few months in the sum­mer in or­der to mate.

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