“YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS!” – Stag Beetle in Illinois
Hello and congratulations on such an informative website. We live in a wooded area with a small pond in South-Central Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, MO. In June 2007, my husband encountered this enormous bug on a decorative wagon wheel while cutting grass. He ran into the house to get me and the kids saying, “YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS!” My husband grew up on a dairy farm and has seen lots of bugs in his day but never came across anything like this. At first we thought it was an escapee from the insect house at the zoo. After searching the internet, we came across your wonderful site and quickly identified it as a Stag Beetle. We’ve enjoyed watching bugs for a while now but it is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen – it measured 3 inches long. We were afraid to get too close so as not to get surprised. However, we did get close enough to see the dew on its back! Do they fly? Are they common? Any information on this elegant insect would be appreciated.
Denise & John
Hi Denise and John,
Your Giant Stag Beetle, Lucanus elaphus, is a beautiful specimen. They do fly. According to BugGuide, they are more common in the southeast, and “There is some conservation concern about this species. The related Lucanus cervus , of Europe, is threatened.”