Help save London’s stag beetles

The London Wildlife Trust is urging people to report their sightings of stag beetles in the capital to help preserve the globally endangered species.

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Britain’s largest beetle can reach up to 8cm in length and is easily recognisable by the male’s distinctive antler-shaped jaws.

Stag beetles are harmless to humans. Their fearsome-looking jaws are used to wrestle with other males during breeding season.

Epping Forest is one of three European Special Areas for Conservation for stag beetles in London, aside from Richmond Park, and Wimbledon and Putney Commons.

Stag beetle season began in May and lasts until the end of July, although a cold spring can delay emergence.

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The beetles spend most of their lives as larvae, within dead wood such as tree stumps and logs. They can spend up to seven years as a grub, slowly reaching its full size.

The tidying up of parks and green spaces has largely attributed to the decline of the stag beetle’s habitat and led to the species becoming endangered. In some parts of the world it is already extinct.

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The beetles play an important role in the cycle of decay; eating and breaking down dead wood so that it nourishes the soil. Stag beetles may be inadvertently destroyed in the mistaken belief they are pests, and in urban areas traffic, feet, cats and other predators can also have a negative impact.

In March 2016 Seb Dance MEP became a champion of the stag beetle as part of the Species Champion initiative, promoting the conservation of species of European importance, in partnership with London Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES).

To help the conservation of the stag beetle, Londoners are being asked to report any sightings via the capital’s environmental records centre; Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL).

If you think you’ve seen a stag beetle, or the related lesser stag beetle, the trust urges you to visit their website at www.wildlondon.org.uk/stag-beetle-survey.

 

 

 

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Phrancys says:

    The Stag Beetle is the cousin of the more widely known "Stag Do Beetle" which is known to infest Stanstead airport.

    Like

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