‘Thunder Beetles’ come out of hiding in Lewisham

Male Stag Beetle

Male Stag Beetle. Pic: Pixabay

London’s biodiversity is in decline, and with that, some of the wildlife in London that was in abundance is either at risk or has completely disappeared, but one species in London thrives every year – stag beetles.

Surprisingly, out of all the species that are in rapid national decline, stag beetles seem to favour London as their national hotspot. During the late spring and summer seasons of the last 22 years, stag beetles have been consistently spotted across London.

Mathew Frith, Director of Conservation at London Wildlife Trust, said: “The stag beetle is a remarkable survivor in London and shows how wildlife continues to live alongside us, even in the midst of a huge city.”

The super-sized beetles have a particular fondness for south London.

Across Lewisham you can spot Britains largest beetles in tree stumps and logs, they generally gather wherever there is dead wood. The larvae that have laid low over the last years are currently emerging from their hiding spots in Lewisham gardens and are preparing for mating season.

“Despite their impressive bulk, they are still very vulnerable, by understanding where they live in London we will be able to help their survival.”

In 2018, more than 600 stag beetles were spotted and reported to London Wildlife across south London.

Laura Mason at London Wildlife Trust told Eastlondonlines: “As the weather warms up we are moving into the best time of year to see stag beetles and they are particularly common in south London.”

The ferocious-looking beetles are often spotted on warm evenings before dusk or storms. Stag beetles get their name because of the antler-like mandibles on the males.

Frith said: “Most people are amazed when they first see one of these stunning, super-sized beetles, especially when they realise they are harmless.”

Stag beetles are currently listed as ‘protected species’ and are facing the threat of habitat loss. Spotting and recording them as well as leaving tree stumps and logs in place for larvae to grow are ways of contributing towards preserving the beetles.

It is important to promote the conservation of those species to ensure their safe future in London.

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