| Main | Lesser stag beetle life history |

Lesser Stag Beetle Dorcus parallelipipedus - Linnaeus, 1758

Identification hints:
First, lesser stag beetles are not as easy to sex as stag beetles are, but it can be done.
They are smaller than stag beetles, their size could vary from 18 to 32 mm.
Another problem is that they could easily be confused with a female stag beetle. However the size, and colour of the wing cases should be sufficient to distinguish the two species. The stag beetles have a slightly lighter colour on their wing wing cases, whereas the lesser stags have all body parts the same black colour.
Thirdly, the lesser stag beetles have ridges running along the the middle section (tibia) of their front legs. So to make double sure you must also check their legs.
Another thing, they are remarkably similar to the antelope beetles (Dorcus parallelus) a north American species. Just have a look at these pictures as they might help you sex your lesser stag beetle.


Male lesser stag beetle. Photo by Andrew Coupe. June 2002. Male and female lesser stag beetle, both 18 mm. Photo by Maria Fremlin. June 2006.
Male lesser stag beetle. Female and male lesser stag beetles.
First, note the knobs on the male's mandibles - the female's are hardly visible. Then, note how the male's head is nearly as broad as the pronutum - the female has a much smaller head which has a couple of little bumps on it. These little bumps are a good identification clue.
Second, let's compare both females shown below - different colour and the lesser is a much small beetle, flatter too. Also the lesser stag beetles tend to be either frozen with the legs tucked in, or to run away quite fast, whereas female stag beetles usually just freeze or walk away sedately.
Females stag and lesser stag beetles

Female stag beetle, 37 mm, and a female lesser stag beetle, 21 mm.
Colchester, Essex, UK. Photo by Maria Fremlin. June 13 2006.

Return to the top


Mating lesser stag beetles. Easier to sex now, aren't they?

Photo by Frank Köhler.
Forest nature reserve "Katzenbacher Hang" near Rockenhausen / Rheinland-Pfalz. June 2001.

Return to the top


Link:
Sexing Lesser Stag Beetles - Here is a very good page from África Gomez's excellent BugBlog.

I hope that this page has helped you. Don't hesitate in giving me your feedback as I have had a lot of trouble learning how to sex these beetles. Just read Stag beetles in my garden if you want know about some of my mistakes.

| Main | Lesser stag beetle life history |