Texas Beetle Information

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

Giant Stag Beetle

Lucanus elaphus (Fabricius, 1775)

Family Lucanidae, Subfamily Lucaninae, Tribe Lucanini



Ozark County, MO (Tom Riley)

Giant Stag Beetle County Records

County Record Data from E.G. Riley, Nov. 2005
Plus Panola County

Range: Eastern U.S., from Texas to Florida to Maryland to Nebraska.

Adult Activity: March to August, most specimens in the TAMUIC from June.

Larval Hosts: Lucanid larvae typically breed in old stumps and in decaying roots and logs of both coniferous and deciduous trees. 

Similar Species

There are some 50 Lucanus species distributed around the Northern Hemisphere, most in Asia. Five species occur in the U.S. and northern Mexico, three restricted to the eastern United States, one species is found in the Southwest and one additional species in northern Mexico. U.S. Lucanus taxonomy.

Texas Taxa:

Lucanus capreolus (Linnaeus)  May to August most in June and July
Lucanus elaphus Fabricius March to August most in June
Lucanus placidus (Say) May to September most in May and June

Remaining Texas Lucanids:

Dorcus parallelus MacLeay May to August
Platycerus virescens (Fabricius) April to December
Nicagus occultus Paulsen & Smith May to June  most in June


Lucanus elaphus - Male - Female
Lucanus capreolus - Male - Female
Lucanus placidus - Female - Male & Female 
Dorcus parallelus - Male - Male & Female 
Playtycerus virescens -  Photo - Photo


Stag Beetle - TAMU

Nicagus occultus 

Etymology: Lucanus elaphus (Fabricius, 1775)

lucan (LL). A kind of beetle
elaphus (G). A stag

Biography: Johann Fabricius (1745-1808) - University of Nebraska-Lincoln State Museum - Division of Entomology


Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press. 880 pp.

Arnold, D.C. & W. A. Drew. 1987. The Stag Beetles of Oklahoma (Coleoptera: Lucanidae). Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 67:27-29.

Benesh, B. 1937. Some Notes on Boreal American Dorcinae (Coleoptera: Lucanidae). Trans. Amer. Entom. Soc. 63:1-16.

Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. v + 134 pp.

Dillon, E.S. & L.S. Dillon. 1961. A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America. Row, Peterson, and Co., Evanston, IL. 884 pp.

Milne, L. J. 1933. Notes on Pseudolucanus placidus (Say) (Lucanidae, Coleoptera). Canadian Entomologist 65: 106-114.

Paulsen, M.J. 2005. Annotated checklist of the New World Lucanidae. University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln. Online publication 

Paulsen, M.J. & A.D. Smith. 2005. A new species of stag beetle from sand dunes in west Texas, and a synopsis of the genus Nicagus (Coleoptera: Lucanidae: Aesalinae: Nicagini). Zootaxa 1050: 4560. [published: 16 Sept. 2005] 

Ratcliffe, B.C. & J. Christen. 2002 Lucanus elaphus Fabr. (Coleoptera: Lucanidae) discovered in Nebraska, with brief notes on its biology and identification. Entomological News 113: 68-70.

Riley, E.G. & C.S. Wolfe. 2003. An annotated checklist of the Scarabaeoidea of Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, Supplement, no. 26. 37 pp.

Ritcher, P.O. 1966. White Grubs and Their Allies, a Study of North American Scarabaeoid Larvae. Oregon State University Monograph Series No. 4: 1-219.

White, R.E. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 368 pp.

19 Dec 2013   Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetles / Texas Beetle Photos /