Posted 30th Apr 2018 by Peter Byrne
Wildlife charity People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling on the public to record sightings of stag beetles on this summer, in what is part of an ongoing study into these impressive, yet endangered beetles
Taking part is an easy process - volunteers will simply need to walk 500m six times between June and July on warm, summer evenings, and then count and record any stag beetles they see. Whether you're on your evening dog walk, a post-work jog, or walking to your local pub, you will be able to participate.
The European Stag Beetle Monitoring Network was set up by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest, and was co-funded by PTES, comprising of partner institutes and universities from 13 countries from Germany and Greece, to the UK and Ukraine.
The network is aiming to assess European population levels monitors the stag beetle's full range. You can find out about participating here: www.stagbeetlemonitoring.org.
Stag beetles are one of our largest land beetles, with males able to reach up to 7.5cm in size. Stunning to look at, the male has huge mandibles (antler-like jaws), which make them easy to spot. However, despite their fearsome appearance, they will be harmless if they are left alone, and between mid-to-late-May, they are more likely to be seen as warmer evenings attract them above ground to find a mate and reproduce.
Laura Bower, conservation officer at PTES, said: "Loss of habitat and lack of dead or decaying wood are just two of the reasons why stag beetles need our help. Stag beetles are completely reliant on dead wood (either partially or completely buried) and are part of the process of recycling nutrients back into the soil, making them a very important part of the ecosystem. They mainly live in Britain’s gardens, parks, woodland edges and traditional orchards, and were once widespread throughout Europe. We hope that by taking part in this European survey, PTES’ annual Great Stag Hunt, and by making gardens stag beetle friendly, the public can help reverse the decline of this iconic insect."
Image courtesy of PTES / Bill Plumb