Photo by Ilija Vukomanovic. Bükk National Park, North East Hungary.
June 11 11.46 2013.
Stag beetles were extremely numerous in this area. They were abundant in the grounds of our hotel and could be found climbing up walls and steps, climbing over the car and I even found one in my room!
I showed this image to our host and he told me that, last year, he had found what he described as a master tree with over forty stag beetles, including several mating pairs, very close to where I had taken the photograph, but he had never seen this behaviour before.
This tandem flight was an extraordinary observation. This flight behaviour has never been reported before for stag beetles. Bess beetles have been seen in a nuptial flight, though in the evening .
This photo is suggestive of either pre-copulatory or mate-guarding behaviour.
If you ever see this behaviour in the UK, please, get in touch with me. I would be very interested because, after all these years of living in a stag beetle hotspot, I have never seen anything like it!
 - MacGown, J.A. and MacGown, M.J. (1996) Observation of a nuptial flight of the horned Passalus beetle,Odontotaenius disjunctus (Illiger) (Coleoptera: Passalidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 50: 201-203. [PDF]
Warmest thanks to Ilija Vukomanovic for sharing his observations and beautiful photo with the website.
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