Elephant Stag Beetle, American Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus)

Order: Coleoptera (ko-lee-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Lucanidae
Genus: Lucanus (loo-KAY-nus) (Info)
Species: elaphus


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Fountain Hill, Arkansas
Chester, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Newburgh, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Bronston, Kentucky
Lone Jack, Missouri
Coats, North Carolina
Harrisburg, North Carolina
Kenly, North Carolina
Warminster, Pennsylvania
Prosperity, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Danville, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
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Members' Notes:


On Aug 30, 2013, marshak from Lone Jack, MO wrote:

I just found one upside down on our patio and put him back in the grass. I was just making sure of the right name for it. Thanks for the info. Marsha


On Jul 14, 2013, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Hate that these seem so rare, but I was glad to have found this guy although he did scared the crap out of me, I came immediately into the house to find what the heck it was and to see if it was as fierce as it looked. Was to find that not the case,
Cool Bug


On Aug 2, 2009, sjrichter from Newburgh, IN wrote:

My children found this in the driveway after a big thunder storm in Newburgh, IN which is located in the southern most tip of Indiana near evansville, IN. They love bugs and were curious to know what kind of beetle it was.


On Jul 29, 2009, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

We discovered a good-size (2-3 inches long) stag beetle in a load of mulch last week. I wished I had my camera to get a photo. They're menacing-looking with those pincers, but they're also beautifully colored.


On Jul 14, 2009, Theminkman from Peoria, IL wrote:

At about 10:30 PM I heard a loud noise outside my window. It sounded like a huge bug flapping its wings against the window. Me, while thinking it was a June Bug, opened the blinds to find a huge, brown beetle with large pincers. It was around 3 or 3 1/2 inches long. I identified it as either the Reddish-Brown Stag Beetle or the Giant Stag Beetle, as the Giant Stag Beetle is listed to be "2 to 3 inches long", and the beetle was definately at least three inches long. It was an impressive bug indeed.


On May 12, 2008, twopuppies from Chester, IL wrote:

Thank you for the etymology Melody! These are unique among the common stag beetles in that they have a miniature version of the male- smaller but with the same mandible shape- most "minor" males have less branched mandibles than the spectacular large "Major" males- seems to be a matter of how well they eat as grubs. They are locally common where people are not overzealous about cutting and burning all of the dead wood and are hard to find as they fly away at dawn. When I was young I read a book that stated that they could not use any force with their jaws and pinched harmlessly- I tested this once and the experience was quite painful- the females regularly chew out of plastic containers with their short efficient pinchers.


On Jun 8, 2007, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a large, fierce looking beetle, but are generally shy of humans. The large pincers in the males are used to do battle with each other.

Found in greater numbers in the South-east US, but can be found somewhat east of the Rockies.

This insect is stated by some to being close to endangered, I know that I rarely see them.

The adults can live up to two years, making their homes in woodlands and decaying logs...where they also lay their eggs and the larvae feed and grow. They pose no threat to crops or humans, feeding on decaying wood, fruit and aphids.

The name Elephant Stag Beetle is a mistake over the years in spelling...the name 'elaphus' means stag in Latin, it has been mis-spelled over the years and the common name Elepha... read more