The English common name derives from the large and fearsome mandibles found on the males of most of these species which resembles the antlers of stags.
There are 1,200 species of Stag Beetles in the family Lucanidae with the biggest ones reaching lengths of up to 12cm, however most captive specimens average 5cm.
Stag Beetles are sexually dimorphic with males having long and partly serrated mandibles. These are commonly used in territory disputes with other males over mating sites or food. Female Stag Beetles are usually smaller bodied than males and have smaller mandibles.
Adult Stag Beetles bodies are ordinarily a muted colouration of black, brown or red however there are some colourful exceptions such as Phalacrognathus mulleri which is commonly known as the Rainbow Stag Beetle.
Stag Beetles are found worldwide and often found in forests on rotting and dead wood. We even have them here in the UK (Lucanus cervus) this is also the largest terrestrial insect in Europe.
Stag Beetles are nocturnal animals and do not require any special heating/lighting equipment. However natural daylight entering into the room where your animals are kept is advisable to provide a natural photoperiod.
Temperatures should be kept within the range of 20-25 °C for most species. Heat mats should not be used with Stag Beetles as they naturally bury themselves into the cool ground to escape heat and secondly it will also lead to the desiccation of the substrate. Humidity needs to be maintained around 70-80% but remember that you are looking to keep a damp but not wet substrate.
Adult Stag Beetles can be housed in suitable plastic or glass terrariums either singular, in pairs or in sexed groups. When considering a terrarium remember that you need to provide a substrate depth of 20cm or more and with an optimum substrate mix of ProRep Beetle Grub (Type 1) and (Type 2) in the ratio of 1:2. It is also advisable to provide special oviposition timbers for females for depositing their eggs. Climbing furnishings can be added to the terrarium along with live moss.
To make things simple we also offer a ProRep Stag Beetle Rearing Kit which is suitable for both raising larvae and keeping adults.
Adult Stag Beetles naturally feed on fruit and tree sap however in captivity it is commonly accepted to feed your adult beetles solely on beetle jellies. The beetles will still obtain all the necessary nutrients they require from the jellies and have many benefits including their long shelf life and the fact they do not attract fruit flies.