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