Lucanus cervus is the best-known species of stag beetle (family Lucanidae), and is sometimes referred to simply as the stag beetle. It lives in holes in old trees and dead trunks, in the forest as well as in groves. Forest management, in eliminating old trees and deadwood, eliminates at the same time the habitat and food of this species. Once quite common, the population of the Lucanus cervus, along with that of other species of beetles which feed on wood, is in steep decline, and is now listed as a globally threatened/declining species.
The natural reaction of the beetle to an approaching large object is to remain motionless making them a good photographic subject. Sexually dimorphic, the males have enlarged mandibles and are larger than the females. Although the male's mandibles seem threatening, they are too weak to be harmful. Nevertheless, females can inflict a painful bite. It is the resemblance of the male's mandibles to the horns of a stag, and their use in combat between males, much like with deer, that gives the species its scientific and common names.
List of subspecies
The best-known subspecies are:
Lucanus cervus cervus
Males: 35 - 92 mm, Females: 35 - 45 mm, Origin: West, Central, East Europe
Lucanus cervus akbesianus
Males: 50 - 100 mm, Females: 40 - 45 mm, Origin: Syria, Turkey
Lucanus cervus judaicus
Males: 50 - 100 mm, Females: 40 - 50 mm, Origin: Syria, Turkey
Lucanus cervus turcicus
Males: 35 - 75 mm, Females: 35 - 40 mm, Origin: Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey