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Stag beetle conservation

The creation the piles of logs half buried in the soil has been an extremely popular stag beetle conservation measure since the first “Hirschkäferwiege”, stag beetle cradle, was suggested by Totchermann in Germany [1]. This artificial habitat has now many new English names: log pile, loggery, lollipop, pyramid, etc. The latest is logarium. See links below right.
Even though I have monitored very few of these, their success rate in my stag beetle hotspot seems to be very low. For example, click here for updates on the monitoring of a lollipop. Also, note the example below.
One of the reasons for this failure to attract the stag beetles might be because the females seem to be very unwilling to disperse. This stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) is know in the Netherlands as a “stay-at-home beetle”. Indeed, radio-telemetric studies showed that the females maximum dispersal distance was 700 meters compared to the males 2000 meters [2].
So, before you build anything, please, consider how close it is going to be to known sightings. Then, please, monitor it regularly. Lastly, contact me as I would love to know your results!

Buried logs with a woodchip much, Neuchâtel, Swisse. Photo by Sylvie Barbalat, May 2007.
Well mulched man-made stag beetle habitat. Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Photo by Sylvie Barbalat, May 2007. This “nichoir” was monitored in the Spring of 2012. Only Cetonia aurata larvae were found; no Lucanus cervus larvae.

Conservation tip!   All stumps and log piles benefit from regular lavish mulches of hard wood chips. So if you live in a stag beetle favoured area we highly recommend you to do this. I've done it myself, see Stag beetles in my back garden.

For more about the ecology of this stag beetle, visit the first link: Stag beetle nests, which illustrates how opportunistic this species seems to be. Through my research in an urban environment, I've come to the conclusion that stag beetles, in favoured areas, respond well to a dynamic management, that is, cutting and planting trees suits them. And the results of the “Stag Beetle 'larval incidents' in private gardens survey” attest to this hypothesis. This survey also showed that sometimes stag beetles nested under logs or simple log piles, or even fence posts. For more read the excelent PTES Stag Beetle Friendly Gardening brochure

Stag beetles — All they need is love and wood

References:
[1] Tochtermann, B. von E. (1987).  Modell zur Artenerhaltung der Lucanidae. Allg. Forst Zeits. 8/1987: 183-184.
[2] Rink M. and Sinsch U. (2007).  Radio-telemetric monitoring of dispersing stag beetles: implications for conservation. Journal of Zoology 272 (3), 235-243. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00282.x

Last modified: Sun Feb 07 2016

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