Subject: Beetle from Patagonian rain forest
Location: Cahuelmó, Parque Pumalín, Patagonia, Chile
March 8, 2014 3:06 pm
This very large beetle was found in temperate rain forest at Cahuelmó in the northern part of Parque Pumalín. Can you help putting a name on this species? We were told it’s supposed to be endangered, is that true?
We are so thrilled to have received your identification request and this excellent photo. We couldn’t imagine it to be anything other than a major male Stag Beetle in the family Lucanidae. We quickly located your Stag Beetle on Community Idea Stations where it is identified as Chiasognathus granti Stephens, the Chilean Stag Beetle or Darwin’s Stag Beetle. The site includes an NPR interview with Dr. Art Evans who states that this is the only species in the genus that stridulates, and that Charles Darwin, in the Descent of Man, described the male’s use of his impressive mandibles to fight other males and defend females. The Generic Guide to New World Stag Beetles has a map with its very limited range in Patagonia.
Thank you very much for the identification! I saw the Darwin’s Stag Beetle on jan 10th this year, but unfortunately the ranger, who found the beetle, killed the bug to bring it home with him (he was a forestry student). I hope there are stille lots of them in the vast Patagonian rain forests…
We don’t want to imagine the worst, but we hope the ranger isn’t using his job to deal in the global insect trade.