Mrs Stag Beetle
Our aim, with our garden, has always been to create a wildlife habitat; to encourage as many species as possible to feed and breed. Sadly, we seem to have had the most success in this with slugs and snails. 😀 Still, we have lots of creatures visiting, especially since we built our insect hotel. From the start, we put in a woodpile or two, knowing that it’s one of the best things you can do for wildlife (after a garden pond). We now have four woodpiles and some big trunk sections to sit on.
The pinnacle of success with a woodpile is to attract stag beetles, the beautiful, prehistoric-looking armoured cars of the insect world. The first year after we moved in, having created our pond and two woodpiles, one at either end, I found a female stag beetle hanging around a woodpile. That afternoon, walking my daughter home from school, I found a male stag beetle on the pavement, looking exhausted. I picked him up in a piece of paper (some essential communication from the school, no doubt) and brought him home. The female was still there, and he perked up no end on introduction. I’ve got the photo somewhere of the resulting tryst; I’ll try to find it for another post.
So the point of this blog post is that we’ve seen an adult female stag beetle in the garden a couple of times in the last week. She is waiting patiently for a male to fly past, smell her delicious beetley pheromones and swoop down to make wonderful stag babies, propagating the next generation of armoured cars in our woodpile. I took some pictures of her, initially in the grass and then temporarily relocated to the top of one of the log stumps. I love the detail of her – the double clawed feet and that fantastic spiked curve of the leg.