What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Stag Beetle?
This bug was out at the heat of the day "running" toward me (twice)from several feet away. It would stop in front of me-both times on pavement in the sun. The one in the picture posed for several shots. It is about 2 cm long although I did not have a ruler at the time. I am curious as to what it is and if it will help or harm my gardens/trees. We live in CA within 2 miles of the beach. Never seen it before or since. Thanks for you help. PS I let both go on their way

This is a species of Caterpillar Hunter. We believe it is Calosoma semilaeve. We received so many identification requests from Southern California in mid May, we were prompted to declare is a secondary Bug of the Month. The species is prone to periodic population explosions, which we beleive can be attributed to the rainfall pattern of last winter. That pattern produced lush vegetation and many caterpillars, the food of both the larval and adult Caterpillar Hunter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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