Stag beetle

Stag-beetles  (Lucanus ) are nearly allied to the scarabees. The males are remarkable for the large size of their mandibles, the branching of which has suggested stags' antlers. The common stag-beetle is a large formidable-looking insect, the males being fully two inches long, and able to give a sharp bite with their strong mandibles. It flies about in the evening in the middle of summer, chiefly frequenting oak-woods.

These insects habitually are well known to fight for possession of a coveted mate. For this purpose the mandibles of the male are enormously developed, and frequently there occurs a most amusing tussle, one beetle striving to gain the side of his lady-love, the other balking him. Eventually one suitor admits defeat by turning tail and making off, while the victor marches in triumph to the fair cause of all the trouble, and begins to court her.

The huge Hercules Beetle of South America has been seen to carry off his mate bodily in this way. Other tropical beetles have specially developed forelegs for grasping their spouse, should she prove coy and attempt playfully to run away.

CONTEST BETWEEN TWO MALE STAG-BEETLES FOR A MATE