The family of Lucanidae Latreille, 1804 is widespread around the whole world, but is especially diversified in tropical areas and consists of about 1200 species worldwide. They are called "Stag Beetles", due to the set of large mandibles found on the males of most species. Taxa of this family present a sexual dimorphism often accentuated with the mandibles more developed in the males than in the females, and are in general of intermediate to strong size and black or brown coloring. They differs from the other families of Scarabaeoidea by the antennomere 1 much longer than 2 and 3 together, the antennas strongly bent with the segments of antennal club fixed and not capable of being tightly closed together and the abdomen including five visible sternites and a hidden sixth, very reduced sternite which is hidden under the fifth sternite.
They are divided into subfamilies (Aesalinae, Chiasognathinae, Cladognathinae, Figulinae, Dorcinae, Lampriminae, Lucaninae, Odontolabinae, Syndesinae) according to the number of articles of the antennal club and the shape of the prosternum, like by the presence (or not) of a pubescence under the articles of tarsi. Only 2 subfamilies (*) are present in Levant: Dorcinae Parry, 1864 and Lucaninae Latreille, 1804.

Lucanidae larvae generally develop in partially broken up wood or the ground in the vicinity immediate of stocks or hollow shafts, and the nymphosis occurs out of ground in a cocoon hull. The adults are often seen during twilight or at night.

*Didier and Seguy (1953) indicated from the Near East the common specie Sinodendron cylindricum Linnaeus, 1758 (subfamily Syndesinae), but according to our data, the specie has not been captured in Levant since long time.

Subfamily Dorcinae

Genus Dorcus Macleay, 1819

Of the 4 European species of Dorcus, 2 are present in Levant:

Dorcus peyronis Reiche & Saulcy, 1856
Dorcus parallelipipedus Linnè, 1758

Subfamily Lucaninae Latreille, 1804

Two genus of Lucaninae are present in Levant: Lucanus Scopoli, 1763 and Pseudolucanus Hope & Westwood, 1845.
Pseudolucanus differs from Lucanus for the upper surface of the mandibles of the male with a broad longitudinal furrow, the internal edge with only one central tooth and the apex not bifide. The teguments of the elytra are quite smooth and shining whereas they are reticulated and chechmates in Lucanus.

Genus Lucanus Scopoli, 1763

The genus includes about 41 holarctic species, of which 2 are known from Levant. The upper face of the mandibles of the male does not have a longitudinal furrow, the internal edge of the mandibles has several teeth and the apex is bifid.

Lucanus orientalis Kraaz, 1860
Lucanus cervus Linné, 1758
Lucanus cervus ssp. turcicus Sturm, 1843
Lucanus cervus ssp. judaicus Planet, 1902
Lucanus cervus ab.(?) pentaphyllus Reiche, 1853

Genus Pseudolucanus Hope & Westwood, 1845

The species of the genus are large and with six segments on the antennal club. The eyes are notched at their center by the canthus. Only one species is present in the Levant.

Pseudolucanus macrophyllus Kraaz, 1860

Genus Platycerus Geoffroy, 1762

Only one species i recorded from the Levant.

Platycerus caraboides ssp. delagrangei Fairmaire, 1892

Selected bibliography

BARAUD J., 1993 - Les Coléoptères Lucanidae de l'Europe et du Nord de l'Afrique. Bulletin mensuel de la société linnéenne de Lyon, 62 (2): 42-64. Download
DIDIER R. et Seguy, E., 1953: Catalogue illustré des Lucanides du globe. Encyclopédie Entomologique, 27: 223 p.

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