Monday, 25 May 2009
Bugs of Leabank Square - Stag Beetle
Guess what Nadira found up on the riverbank today?! Our very first Stag Beetle!!!
This is a slightly smaller female Stag Beetle - and was found among the newly planted seedlings - and we've now housed her in the newly made Leabank Square Insect Hotel.
The English name is derived from the large and distinctive mandibles found on the males of most species, which resemble the antlers of stags.
A well-known species in much of Europe is Lucanus cervus, referred to in Britain as "the" stag beetle (it is the largest British terrestrial insect). Pliny the Elder noted that Nigidius called the stag beetle lucanus after the Italian region of Lucania where they were used as amulets. The scientific name of Lucanus cervus is this word, plus cervus, deer.
Male stag beetles use their jaws to wrestle each other for favoured mating sites, but despite their often fearsome appearance they are not normally aggressive to humans.
Stag beetles or Kuwagatamushi (クワガタムシ) are sometimes used in the Asian sport of insect fighting.
Female stag beetles are usually smaller than the males, with smaller mandibles.
The larvae feed for several years on rotting wood, growing into grubs which in larger species may be the size of a human finger.
Come on Leabank Square - get there and hunt for more great bugs!