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stag beetle

stag beetle (representative specimen) Photo © David W. Brewer

Features and Behaviors

Stag beetles have antennae that are bent near the club-shaped tip. The long, stout body is red-brown to black. The lower jaws of the male are very large. The branched appearance of the jaws gave rise to the name “stag” beetle, as the jaws are similar to the branching of a stag’s antlers. The adult averages about one and one-half inches in length. The larvae are smooth and white.

Stag beetles may be found statewide. The adult lives on the ground in woods. It may fly to lights at night. The adult stag beetle feeds on sap. Its larva lives in rotting wood and feeds on the juices of the rotten wood.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Coleoptera 

Family: Lucanidae

Illinois Status: common, native