Keep your eyes peeled between May and late July in the gardens and parks as well as streets and pavements of London; there’s a good chance of an encounter with Britain’s largest (and London’s favourite) beetle.
It’s stag beetle season and London hosts a nationally significant population of this unusual creature (read more and see a video here from the Natural History Museum).
Stag beetles have been recorded in most of London boroughs, but are more common in south and west London, from Bexley, Lewisham and Southwark to Wimbledon, Richmond and Uxbridge.
Each year from late April/May, GiGL begins to receive sightings of stag beetles from members of the public as the adult beetles emerge from their long development under the ground.
If London experiences a few warm humid evenings, a flurry of records of male stag beetles will often come flying in from our online form and London Wildlife Trust’s online survey hosted by GiGL. Members of the public are the major contributor of records of this notable species to the database.
Probably due to their rarity (they have suffered recent population decline) and their striking appearance, stag beetles appear to really capture the imagination of Londoners. We often receive fantastic observations and interesting comments accompanying records: stag beetles on tube platforms, flying into homes, being rescued from cats and engaging in beetle brawls!
We can also now accept photographs along with one-off records, and a number of photographs of encounters with these beasts have been sent to us in recent weeks, including these lovely shots from last year’s stag beetle season and some early sightings this year!