Lesser stag beetle

Lesser stag beetle

Lesser stag beetle ©Wendy Carter

Lesser stag beetle

Scientific name: Dorcus parallelipipedus
The lesser stag beetle may be smaller than its famous cousin, but it is still a large beetle with large jaws. It can be seen in woods, parks and hedgerows during summer, and depends on dead wood.

Species information


Length: up to 3cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


The lesser stag beetle may be smaller than its famous cousin, but it is still a relatively large beetle with large jaws. Adults can be found in woodland, parkland and hedgerows during the summer; they can often be seen resting in the sun on tree trunks. The larvae depend on old trees and rotting wood to live in and feed on, and both adults and larvae can be found in the decaying wood of ash, common beech and apple. The adults can be seen flying about at night, sometimes coming to outside lights. They mate and lay their eggs in a suitable piece of decaying wood.

How to identify

The lesser stag beetle is a large beetle with a broad head and large mandibles. It can be distinguished from the male stag beetle by its smaller jaws and distinctively knobbed antennae, and from the small-jawed female stag beetle by its all-black wing cases.


Found throughout England and Wales.

Did you know?

Sometimes mistaken for the rarer and larger stag beetle.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.