Rare stag beetle found at REGUA

Male <em>Pholidoctus humboldti gyllenhall</em>, REGUA, 26 April 2012. (&copy; Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)
Male Pholidoctus humboldti gyllenhall, REGUA, 26 April 2012. (© Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

You really have to know your beetles as there are so many of them. Adilei recently bought a small Lumix camera to take out with him, and on a walk last Thursday to Waldenoor came across a beetle that struck his interest because of its shape. Our research officer Jorge Bizzaro was delighted because he immediately identified the photo as being a Lucanidae, or stag beetle. We went online and contacted Celso Godinho from the RJ Natural History Museum, who confirmed its identification as being Pholidoctus humboldti gyllenhall. This is a rare beetle normally associated with high altitude forest which shows that the forests at REGUA are in good health. The larvae live on dead wood and are therefore called “xilophagous” (living on wood) beetles. The males have these gigantic jaws you see in the photo, capable of lifting 400 times their weight and known for their ferocity between each other. The females are very much smaller and lack the large jaws.