Stag Beetle Recording

Stag Beetles (Photo: Nick Sharp)

Everyone who attended our Spring meeting on 11th April was impressed with Rob Bacon’s presentation on Stag Beetles (Lucanus cervus) and how Natural Resources Wales* hopes to get a better understanding of their distribution across Monmouthshire by involving people like us in recording sightings.

Rob demonstrated how to make a trap to capture (temporarily of course) and record these fascinating little creatures.  These traps should be put out between the start/middle of May until the end of July so now’s the time to start planning if you want to take part.

Here’s Rob’s report and instructions for making the flight interception trap (pdf)

The Stag Beetle is the UK’s largest beetle, and is in decline, mostly, as you might guess, because of habitat loss.  There is a recent report on their status on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) website.

The ecology of Stag Beetles is fascinating, spending the majority of their life underground in decaying wood as a larvae (up to 7 years) before they pupate in a cocoon they make and eclose (toughen their exoskeleton) into their adult form. Once taking on their adult form in their cocoon they spend the winter underground before emerging the following summer. All of these phases of their lifecycle have been extremely well charted by Maria Fremlin and the following links to Maria’s sites, with in depth information and some amazing images:-

So join in the hunt, and send your results to Rob (details at the end of the instructions document).

*Rob is a Conservation Officer with Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru), the new organisation that, from 1st April 2013, is taking over the roles of the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and Forestry Commission Wales.

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