Jul 29, 2013 - Arthropods, Insects    No Comments

Stag Beetle


Lucanus elephus

Perhaps its habits are not so strange as to be astonishing, but what the Elephant Stag Beetle (also known as a Pinch Bug) loses in technique it makes up in style. Truly fitting both the name of elephant and stag, the males of this species have both size and they “may bear paired jaws fully as long as the rest of the beetle.” (The Audobon Society Encyclopedia of Animal Life p. 429) Yes, I said jaws. They may look like antlers, horns, or some other strange cranial apparatus, but they are in fact enormous mandibles. I, unfortunately, was not able to photograph a male beetle, so I instead have only a humble female. They, however, still have fairly large jaws. Imagine this beetle, but with jaws about three times as long. The enormous jaws possessed by the male are used in fierce duels with other males over a female buy gabapentin online. The males wrestle violently with each other, each trying desperately to overturn his opponent. Once one of them has been turned topsy-turvy, the other has won the hand – or mandibles, perhaps – of the female, and the loser is left on his back to struggle his way back onto his feet.

Found in eastern North America, and mostly in the eastern United States, these beetles live in rotting wood and vegetation, which their larvae eat. I am not sure what the adults eat… and I still cannot figure out how the males eat when they have jaws as big as themselves.