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North American Stag Beetles

North American stag beetles are distinct from their Old World cousins one of which is the charismatic Lucanus cervus, the core of this website.
Below are photo links to the Lucanidae species that occur on the eastern side of the Rockies, which in some ways are closely related to the Old World species; however the ones on the western side have evolved differently - interesting.
If you are trying to identify your beetle, first have a good look at its antennae.
If they aren't shaped like this antenna, then it is not a stag beetle even though it might have some very convincing pincers. I say this because I've had emails from the USA about the blue-margined ground beetle - Pasimachus depressus, which happens to have mandibles as well, but it is not a Lucanidae at all.

Click on the pictures to if you want to know more, some will lead you directly to the Bugguide though.

Male Lucanus elaphus, Durham, NC. 16 June 2004. Photo by Matt Sumner. Male Pseudolucanus capreolus, PA, August 2003. Photo by Wade Fulp. Female Pseudolucanus placidus. Conneaut, OH, 10 May de 2004. Photo by Michele Pitonyak
Male Dorcus parallelus, WV, 25 May 1991. Photo by Dr. Frank Guarnieri Male and female Ceruchus piceus, Derry, NH, 29 May 2005. Photo by Jim McClarin Male Platycerus virescens, Derry, NH, 30 May 2005. Photo by Jim McClarin

Bugguide Lucanidae - This is perhaps the best page in the Bugguide to start from as it lists the genera that occur in the USA and Canada.
The New World Lucanidae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) - Annotated Checklist of the New World Lucanidae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea).
www.Koleopterologie.de - An excellent site to have a look at photos of the European Lucanidae.

Beetles - A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America by Richard E. White, Houghton Mifflin Company, Peterson Field Guide, 1983.
A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America by Elizabeth S. Dillon and Lawrence S. Dillon, Volume II, Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Apparently out of print.
For Love of Insects by Thomas Eisner - One of my favourite book, a must for all ages.

As you might have noticed I'm now working in tandem with the Bugguide, and I hope that you found it better that way, anyway, these pages couldn't have been built without the visitors support. Here are my thanks to all have helped.
Do carry on giving me your feedback which is essential for further site improvements. Mainly it is always fascinating to know a bit more about their behavior.
So if you would like to contribute with your star photos, ideally with a scale, please do so in the Bugguide.

Photographic hint - If the beetles are very frisky, chill them out a bit in the fridge and then they will be much better subjects. Then put them back in the wild where they belong.

Last modified: Mon Aug 29 10:34:48 BST 2011

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