Golden Stag Beetle: Life & Times Of The Insect That Looks Like Gold

If you are in Australia and see something shining like gold from a distance near an acacia or eucalyptus tree, you might have spotted a golden stag beetle. In this article, we discuss all about these beautiful insects.

The golden stag beetles are probably the shiniest insects on the planet! Their name does complete justice to their shiny, gold-like appearance.

These glossy creatures are as beautiful as they are fascinating. In this article, we talk about their life cycle, appearance, habits, and more.

Golden Green Stag Beetle

What Are They?

The golden metallic stag beetle (Lamprima Aurata) is part of the Lucanidae family. It has an oval body that’s usually ½ to 1 inch long.

Interestingly, many interpretations exist of this species of beetle, such as the Lamprima Cuprea Latreille, Lamprima Aurata Latreille, Lamprima Latreillii, and so on.

Even though this stag beetle species is particularly known for its delicate shiny color, you can find them in yellowish-green, burgundy, and brown hues as well.

While the males have metallic golden-green or yellowish-green bodies, the female stag beetles can be blue, dull brown, or bluish-green.

Some species of stag beetles in Tasmania also have burgundy bodies that shine from afar.

The males have large mandibles and are bigger than the females. They use these giant stag-like tusks to fight off other beetles to mate with females.

Once they mate, the females find rotting dead wood to lay their eggs.

stag beetle
Golden Stag Beetle

Where Do They Live?

The golden stag beetle is native to Australia and is mainly found in Tasmania and the southeast mainland, specifically in the dry sclerophyll forests.

They live in and around their host plants, Acacia and Eucalyptus.

What Do They Eat?

Juvenile stag beetle larvae usually feed on logs of dead or rotting wood. It takes about 5-6 years for them to complete their larval stage and transform into an adult.

They spend their lives in rotten or dead tree trunks, barks, or tree stumps of trees like eucalyptus and acacia, where they have abundant nutrition.

The adult golden stag beetles use the stored fat from their larval stage for the rest of their lives. However, they may also soak in moisture from wood saps and nectar from flowers from time to time.

Do Golden Stag Beetles Bite?

Even though golden stag beetles have long and menacing mandibles, they usually do not use them for biting.

The female stag beetles may nip if they feel threatened, but their bites are not harmful.

Some species of stag beetles, however, can give painful bites, such as cottonwood stag beetle and rainbow stag beetle.

Female Golden Stag Beetle

What happens if you get bitten by a stag beetle?

Stag beetles rarely bite humans. If they are mishandled or feel threatened, they might nip at you.

However, while it might be painful, their bites are not harmful enough to cause severe skin problems.

There might be temporary redness, swelling, or a rash, but it won’t last longer than an hour. If you are allergic to insects, however, you might require medical help.

Are They Poisonous?

Golden stag beetles are not poisonous or venomous. You don’t have to worry about any long-term adverse effects due to their bites.

While they have large mandibles, they do not have the force to bite your skin and cause lesions or blisters.

Life Cycle of The Golden Stag Beetle

The life cycle of the golden stag beetle is quite long. It lasts for six to seven years, but much of it is spent in the larval stage.

The beetle goes through a complete metamorphosis with four life stages: egg, larval, pupal, and adult, after which the adult male and female mate to lay eggs, repeating the cycle.


The female lays about 20-30 eggs in decaying wood logs. It takes about three weeks for the egg to hatch.


The larvae immediately start feeding on the dead wood of the tree bark or trunk, wherever the female lays eggs.

They have an orangish heads with pale and shiny bodies. They use their brown jaws to consume the rotting logs and dead wood.

Pupa and Adult

The larval stage continues for several years, giving way to the pupal and, finally, the adult stage.

The only purpose of the adult stag beetles is to mate and lay eggs. Hence, they don’t live a very long life.

They start their breeding season in May, which goes on until the end of July.

Frequently Asked Questions

How rare is the golden stag?

The golden stag beetle is fairly common in Australia, though this species is hardly found outside the continent. It is most commonly found in the Tasmanian region.

Can a stag beetle hurt you?

Stag beetles may look fearsome with their giant mandibles, but in reality, these beetles cannot cause any major damage to you.
Their mandibles are not designed to bite human skin. The females can bite you, however, and their bite can be painful. However, even that is quite harmless unless you are allergic to insect bites.

What happens if you get bit by a stag beetle?

Even though it is pretty rare to be bitten by a beetle, its bite can lead to redness and swelling of the skin.
It may also lead to infections if allergic to an insect bite. So, keep your distance from these creatures even if they aren’t designed to bite you.

Where do golden stag beetles live?

Golden stag beetles are native to Australia, specifically Tasmania and the southeast mainland. You can find these beetles on the leaves of their host plants, Eucalyptus and Acacia.

Wrap Up

With their golden bodies and rare appearance, these beetles are one of the most beautiful insects in the world.

Their life cycle and habits are very similar to other beetle species, and they are found largely in the Tasmanian region in Australia.

If you see a golden stag beetle, please do not hesitate to share with us your pictures! Thank you for reading.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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10 thoughts on “Golden Stag Beetle: Life & Times Of The Insect That Looks Like Gold”

  1. Hi
    This beetle is a Phalacrognathus Muelleri, commonly known as rainbow or king stag beetle. Both of the picture show females. plenty of info on web about these a commonly kept, i have a breeding pair at moment. hope this helps

  2. I confirm that the photos are of Lamprima aurata (Coleoptera: Lucanidae)

    Photos and biological information on this species have been reviewed in Beetles of Australia and in papers 228 and 362 available as free pdf files from my website

    Thank you, Trevor

  3. This is a male Lamprima aurata not P. muelleri. I was quite amused when I read the the comments. It is like a war. Elizabeth L. aurata is not a damn thing but a beautiful beetle.

  4. It is definitely not Phallocragnathus latrielle which is endemic to the rainforests of northern Queensland, and is not rare. In fact it is commonly bred for sale in Japan, as an internet search will reveal.
    This is currently Lamprima aurata, however the genus Lamprima is being revised (as it is a taxonomic mess) and it is hoped that the paper sorting everything out once and for all will be published this year (2016).
    All the best,
    Allen Sundholm

  5. I am living in VA , USA, . I recently found a huge Green Beetle with horns not unlike a Stag Beetle, but the horns are vertical on its body, not horizontal. I have pictures on my phone.


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