I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple of lesser stag beetles (Dorcus parallelipipedus) in my garden lately. About two weeks ago I found a female, and two days ago my wife found a male, approximately two meters away from the place I found the female, on the same wall. I hope they managed to find each other and made sweet sexy time. Stag beetles are awesome.
I have, however, never been lucky enough to find the big guys, the ‘not so lesser’ stag beetle (Lucanus cervus). Every year some confused individual passes through my parents-in-law’s garden, but they never drop by when I’m there (which admittedly is not regularly these days). These things seem to avoid entomologists like the plague, probably scared to get a pin through their elytra. I rarely pin insects, so they have nothing to worry about. (Just in case one is reading my blog, you never know)
This morning I woke up in a place south of the Chiemsee, in the foothills of the Alps. I was playing around with my boy and my brother-in-law and a few dogs on the campsite, when my wife came at us with a box and a very big smile on her face. She asked me whether she had caught a stag beetle. I opened the box, and although it wasn’t a stag, it was something almost as impressive. This certainly is the largest ground beetle species I have ever seen. This beetle must have been 5-6 cm long, and was overall just a really chunky beast! I can’t be too sure about the species. Could it be Carabus gigas? I have googled some and can’t find any records here, but it has been found in Austria. Given that this is roughly 10 km from here, I’m willing to accept it as an option. What other carabid gets this big?
Regardless of what species. Totally not a stag beetle, but still a cool find! (Several people have since pointed out that this may be Carabus coriaceus, which seems plausible, but it was a giant of its kind!)