1,200 species of Stag beetles have been identified, out of a whopping 400,000 total beetle species, but their unique mandibles help them stand out from the rest. Compared to other insects, stag beetles have a lengthy life cycle, spending several years in the larva stage eating decaying wood. They transition into the pupa stage in the fall, and become adults just a few weeks later. However, they don’t leave their warm underground lair until the following spring. At that point, their lives are numbered in weeks, and their goal is to find a mate and restart the cycle.
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Female stag beetles carefully prepare the ground by digging into the soil before laying 30 to 90 eggs near rotting wood, which will provide food once the eggs hatch. It can take about three weeks for the eggs to hatch.
Stag Beetle larvae break from their eggs but cutting the shell. They are C-shaped and feed on rotting logs near where they hatch. It takes two to seven years for them to mature, during which time they feed on decaying wood and grow larger.
Once a Larva reaches its full size of 3ƒ? in. (7.5 cm) long , it prepares a safe spot deep in the ground for a cocoon. In the cocoon it undergoes metamorphosis. It may leave its cocoon, but it will stay underground until spring before emerging as an adult Stag Beetle.
After emerging from the ground, adult Stag Beetles begin seeking a mate since they only live for a few months. Adult male Stag Beetles are known for their large, impressive jaws, which are used for wrestling other Stag Beetles over food or territory. Female Stag Beetles spend most of their time searching for a nesting site.