T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Beetle (Stag) Family: Lucanidae

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga I
nfraorder: Scarabaeiformia
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Lucanidae
Common name: Stag beetles

Lucanidae is a small diverse family distributed worldwide and are a group of about 1,300 species. The New Zealand lucanid fauna comprises 39 species, of which 35 are endemic and belong in five endemic genera, and four are foreign.
The English name stag beetle is derived from the large and distinctive mandibles found on the males of most species, which resemble the antlers of stags. The female stag beetles are usually smaller than the males, with smaller mandibles. The endemic New Zealand stag beetles by comparison to overseas members of the family are inconspicuous and rather cryptic, most spending their entire lives in native habitats and having to be searched for to be seen. They are neither brightly coloured nor shiny; instead have dullish brown or black integument, sometimes with tufts or patches of yellowish or brown scales or hairs.
The larvae feed for several years on rotting deciduous wood, growing through three larval stages until eventually pupating inside a pupal cell constructed from surrounding wood pieces and soil particles.


An unidentified stag beetle.
  

  

  

The stag beetles antennae are often elbowed with a comb-like club on the end.
  

Hooks on the end of the legs.

Stag beetles spend most of their lives in the larval stage. A larva of an unknown stag beetle found in an underground rotting stump.