Stag beetles belong to the family of the Schröter (Lucanidae).
The name Schröter is derived from the crushing of the decaying wood. This is done primarily by the larvae and adult females.
Seven species are found in Central Europe. In addition to the stag beetle Lucanus cervus, they also include the lesser stag beetle Dorcus parallelipipedus. This one can easily be mistaken for the female stag beetle.
The stag beetle is our largest native beetle and is protected by law. This also applies to its developmental stages and nests. Stag beetles are useful because as larvae they accelerate humus formation.
In the stag beetle, the sexes differ clearly in their appearance.
This is primarily due to the size and shape of the mandibles (upper jaw). In the male, there is a striking resemblance to the antler shape of a red deer. The mandibles of the female are smaller and more inconspicuous.