Rearing of Lucanus elephus

go to L.elephusLucanus elephus is without a doubt the largest and most intricate looking stag native to the United States. A large 60mm+ male in perfect condition can go for $100 for a single dead specimen.

 This is a great stag to rear and even small males still have major mandibles unlike nearly all stags and even rhinos.


Adult elephus will eat different sugary liquid foods including banana and watered-down maple syrup, however, adults also enjoy eating the insides of other insects which must be a more common food found in the wild. Larvae of L. elephus eat rotten wood as a main diet which can be supplemented with dry dog food. Dead pieces of beech, oak, and maple are preferred foods of the larvae. Warning: any softwood (pines) will probably kill the larvae.

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Life cycle:

In captivity adults can live 9 months with the first 6 being hibernation. After mating females will chew holes in rotten wood, lay a single egg, and then pack wood fibers around the egg for protection. The first instar takes about 6 weeks and the second instar takes about 8 weeks. The next 9 or more months are spent in the final instar which, when ready, will make a pupal cell by compacting the substrate around itself. At room temperature (75F) the larvae will pupate after 6 more weeks and then change to a beautiful adult in another 6 weeks. At cooler temperatures these two phases can take much longer.


The most delicate phase of Lucanus elephus is that of the egg. Be certain not to disturb laying areas and to keep moisture consistent.
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