The Lesser Stag Beetle may be smaller than its famous cousin, but it is still a relatively large beetle with large jaws. Adults can be found in woodland, parks and along hedgerows during the summer, often resting in the sun on tree trunks. The larvae depend on old trees and rotting wood to live in and feed on, and both adults and larvae can be found in the decaying wood of Ash, Beech and apple. The adults can be seen flying about at night, sometimes coming to outside lights. They mate and lay their eggs in a suitable piece of decaying wood.
How to identify
The Lesser Stag Beetle is a large beetle with a broad head and large jaws. It can be distinguished from the male Stag Beetle by its smaller mandibles and distinctively knobbed antennae, and from the small-jawed female Stag Beetle by its all-black wing cases.
Where to find it
Found across England and Wales.
When to find it
How can people help
Many of our commonly overlooked insects are actually important nutrient-recyclers and pest controllers in the habitats they live in. Minibeasts, such as the Lesser Stag Beetle, can be encouraged into the garden by the provision of logs, stone piles and compost heaps for them to hide, feed and breed in. In turn, other species will be attracted to the garden, as minibeasts are a food source for many animals, including mammals, birds and amphibians, providing a vital link in the food chain. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.