Fun Giant Stag Beetle Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 04, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Amazing Giant Stag Beetle facts for everyone.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.3 Min

There are over 350,000 species of beetles that exist, and they have existed on Earth for ages, evident from the fossil of Juraesalus which dates back to the Callovian era, (the last phase of the Middle Jurassic).

The family Lucanidae is branched into four subfamilies namely, Aesalinae, Lampriminae, Lucaninae, and Syndesinae, and these subfamilies have several genera and almost 1200 species.

The Giant Stag Beetle is from the subfamily Lucaninae of the genus Lucanus. The Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus) is a maroonish-black species found in North America.

The Giant Stag Beetle is known as the American Stag beetle and Elephant Stag Beetle, the scientific name is Lucanus elaphus, and the term ‘elaphus’ is a Greek word that means deer because the antlers found on this species resembles antlers in deers.

The male Stag beetles are distinguished for their massive mandibles which are relatively smaller than the females.

The rotting and decaying wood is their favorite place but with the loss of habitat, their population is also declining.

The process of metamorphosis is long as it can several years for an egg to turn into a beetle.

They are frequently preyed on by other mammals and reptiles including birds, rats, and bats. The adult beetles consume sap as they cannot chew, and flying for them becomes difficult because of the massive structure of their jaw, the adults are reddish-brown while the larvae are white.

To know more about the Giant Beetle keep reading this article. You can also check out our other articles on the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle and Soldier Beetle.

Giant Stag Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a giant stag beetle?

The Giant Stag Beetle is an insect from the order Coleoptera, family Lucanidae, subfamily Lucaninae of the genus Lucanus.

What class of animal does a giant stag beetle belong to?

The Giant Stag Beetle belongs to the class Insecta.

How many giant stag beetles are there in the world?

Numerous species of beetles are found all over the world, the Giant Stag beetle is one of them. The number may vary according to the species and location but the accurate number of Giant Stag Beetles has not been estimated.

Where does a giant stag beetle live?

The Giant Stag Beetles are found in North America, they are also known as the American Stag beetle. They thrive in woodlands hence these beetles are found in various areas, they may range from the south of the U.S. including Virginia to the northeastern part of the U.S.

What is a giant stag beetle's habitat?

Their most favorable habitat is damp, decaying wood or rotting wood found in the woodlands or forest.

The female requires deadwood tree stumps to lay eggs as the larvae survive on the dead wood, rotting wood for the major part of their life and the adults consume sap, the weather has to be temperate for their breeding and development, and the Stag Beetles also require light soil for pupation.

Who do giant stag beetles live with?

The larvae and adult beetles live in big colonies in rotting wood and burrows.

How long does a giant stag beetle live?

The life cycle of a Giant Stag beetle is divided into distinct phases. The female Stag Beetles lay their eggs on the damp, rotting wood tree stumps.

The metamorphosis is a long period of action and these insects spent most of their life as larvae this phase is also known as the larval phase which can take several years till they metamorphose. Until then, the Stag beetle larvae eat dead and rotting wood.

The larval phase is followed by the pupal phase and it takes about seven to nine months to turn into an adult beetle.

The adult Giant Stag beetles are short-lived as they survive for three to six weeks, hence the adults can survive only one mating season. Hence their life cycle depends on how much time the larvae will take to develop into an adult beetle.

How do they reproduce?

The Giant Stag Beetles reproduce by copulation, these beetles are sexually dimorphic and males are easy to identify, their mating system is polygynous and the males compete with each other by fighting with the help of their jaws when the males are challenged they spread their jaws as a defense mechanism to fight with other males.

The mating takes place during the summer months and under a temperate climate. The females lay eggs inside rotting woods and trees where the Stag Beetle larvae can survive as dead or rotting wood is their primary food source.

After metamorphosis, the beetles have to dig up their ways as pupation occurs in light soil, as this soil is easy to dig.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is not clearly stated anywhere. The Giant Stag Beetles are found in North America as it is a native species and it is assumed that their population is gradually declining because of deforestation and loss of habitat. These insects are uncommon but there is no precise information about the conservation of this species.

Giant Stag Beetle Fun Facts

What do giant stag beetles look like?

In North America, there are more than 24 species of beetles. The Giant Stag Beetles do possess certain unique attributes that distinguish them from the rest of the stag beetles.

The Giant Stag beetles start their life as eggs and then they transcend into larvae. The larvae of the Giant Stag Beetle are white, shaped like ‘C’, and their heads are red.

The larvae can reach up to a length of 2 in (5 cm) and they intake dead wood which is enriched with carbohydrates and fungus the dead microorganism of trees are a rich source of protein which they require for metamorphosis.

The adult beetles are sexually dimorphic, the males are bigger than the females, the male stag beetle can grow up to 1.7-2.3 in (4.3-5.8 cm), has a slender body, and a flat back. The color of these beetles is reddish-brown and have mandibles.

The male Stag Beetles have massive antlers which they use to defend themselves, the female Stag beetles on the other hand have comparatively small mandibles. The females have a narrow head, and the length of their body is approximately.

1.1-1.3 in (2.7-3.3 cm).

The male Stag Beetles have wide head black antennas and legs, the antennas have oval-shaped sections which are separated but not flexible. In species like the Scarab Beetles, the antennas are foldable while in this species they are not.

The jaws of females are stronger than the males despite being small, they can bite too if not handled properly. It can be hard to distinguish them from other adult Stag Beetles.

Giant Stag Beetle is also called American Stag beetle

How cute are they?

These insects can appear intimidating for a few people, while others may be fascinated by their immense and unique mandibles.

How do they communicate?

The Giant Stag Beetles cannot communicate vocally. The adult female Beetles release pheromones that attract the males and it is assumed that the larvae probably use stridulation as a method of communication.

How big is a giant stag beetle?

The Giant Stag beetle is considered to be the largest beetle among the Stag Beetles, the males are bigger than the females and have large mandibles while the female is relatively small and have decent-sized mandibles.

The mandibles of the males form half of their body length, an adult male may grow approximately 1.7-2.3 in (4.3-5.8 cm) and a female can grow around 1.1-1.3 in (2.7-3.3 cm) while the larvae have 2 in (5 cm) body length.

The Stag beetle is approximately 0.3-1.5 in (0.7-3.8 cm) hence the giant Stag Beetles are slightly bigger than the stag beetles.

How fast can a giant stag beetle fly?

The Giant Stag Beetles can fly but due to their antlers the Stag Beetles have difficulty while flying, but their speed has not been determined.

How much does a giant stag beetle weigh?

There is no coherent verified data available on the weight of Giant Stag Beetles.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female can be easily distinguished due to their physical appearance, no other name has been assigned.

What would you call a baby giant stag beetle?

The females lay eggs. After the eggs are hatched larvae evolve, these larvae are white with red-colored heads and they can grow up to 2 in (5cm), hence the baby Giant Stag Beetles are called larvae.

What do they eat?

The larvae feed on rotten wood, decaying wood, and decomposed wood. They derive the essential carbohydrates for their growth and the microorganisms present in the trees provide them the necessary protein to grow and develop.

The sap dripping from trees is the main source of food for the adults as they cannot chew food. These insects spend an ample about of time being larvae as the adults are short-lived and survive for weeks.

Are they dangerous?

These insects do not cause any potential harm. They have a crucial role as they consume the dead and rotten trees. You may be startled because of their appearance but they are neither hostile nor dangerous as they are non-venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

The Giant Stag Beetles are often raised by hobbyists, they are not aggressive until and unless they are threatened, and in that scenario, they may bite with their immense jaws.

These species are found in the wild, especially in forests where myriad trees are being decomposed, which provides them a suitable environment to thrive so it is better to leave them in the wild, where they belong instead of confining them for our interests.

Did you know...

The term ‘Lucanus’ is derived from a region in Italy named ‘Lucancia’ which was situated in the South where Stag Beetles have been used as an amulet.

Why do stag beetles throw females?

The adult Giant Stag Beetle’s breeding season commences from the summer season, as they live only one season. The females release pheromones which attract the males and the male Stag Beetles combat with other males to gain victory so that they can mate. After copulation, the male Stag Beetle throws the female Stag beetle.

Are stag beetles aggressive?

The male Stag Beetles are aggressive towards other males during the mating season, they often combat with each other with their massive mandibles attached to their heads, and they grasp and flip their opponents to mate with the females.

These insects are not aggressive towards humans but if they feel threatened they bite with the help of their jaws to defend themselves.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our American house spider facts and ambush bug fun facts for Kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable giant stag beetle coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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