Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lesser Stag Beetle

We have a wood burning stove and, consequently, stacks of wood all over the garden. Since we have had these, we have had Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) turning up in the garden, but not terribly abundantly - maybe once or twice a year.

Lesser Stag Beetle
Many of our neighbours have donated wood from their gardens and we were offered some large chunks of timber that had been used as edging for a raised bed. These were extremely rotten at the bottom where they had been in contact with the ground. On cutting them up, we found they were riddled with the larvae of this species. They are typical 'C' shaped Scrabaeid larvae found in rather large tunnels filled with frass.

Lesser Stag larva

Like the Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus), these larvae take quite a long time to develop. The Stag takes about 5 years to complete its larval development, whilst the Lesser Stag takes 3-4 years. Decayed wood, after all, is not a particularly nutritious food.