The stag beetle is the UK's largest beetle. With their massive antler-like jaws and reddish-brown bodies, male Stag Beetles are unmistakable. Females have much smaller jaws and reddish brown wing cases.
The larvae depend on old trees and rotting wood to live in and feed on, and can take up to six years to develop before they pupate and turn into adults. The adults have a much shorter lifespan: they emerge in May with the sole purpose of mating, and die in August once the eggs have been laid in a suitable piece of decaying wood. Look for the adults on balmy summer evenings, when the males fly in search of mates. Once the male has found a mate, he displays his famously massive, antler-like jaws to her, and uses them to fight off rival males, in a similar fashion to deer.
Don't be too tidy
The greatest threat to stag beetles is loss of the deadwood habitat where they live as grubs. So if you have a garden, don't be too tidy and leave some rotting logs in a quiet spot an who knows you may get a visit from this gentle giant.