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La nueva dirección de este proyecto es / The new web of this project is:


(See maps)

In the following, we present the information available to us about distribution, current status and sources of threat of Lucanus cervus in Europe. We also identify our sources, in order people can themselves evaluate how accurate they are. We welcome communication of any mistake we had made in summarising the data currently available, as well as any update of it or information about other European countries. Please, contact us at the following address:

Proyecto Ciervo Volante
Aptdo. 385
E-33480 Avilés
Asturias (Spain)



At an european level, the stag beetle is included in the Appendix III of the Bern Convention. Within the EU, it is included in the Appendix 2 of the Habitat Directive.

Council of Europe. European treaties ETS no. 104. Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats. Bern, 19.IX.1979.

Diario Oficial de las Comunidades Europeas (1992). Directiva 92/43/CEE del Consejo, de 21 de mayo de 1992, relativa a la conservación de los hábitats naturales y de la fauna y flora silvestres. DOCCEE L 206 (22 julio): 7-50.



Distribution: See map.


Illies, J. (1983). Changing concepts in biogeography. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 28: 391-406.



Distribution: See map. "Occurrence in Bohemia (western half of Czech Republic territory) includes several lowland areas; it is relatively common in southern/southeastern part of Moravia (eastern half of Czech Republic territory)."

Current status and threat source: "In our country the species is also endangered and protected. [...] My personal opinion is that Lucanus cervus cervus is endangered and disappears in our country mainly due to global destroying of natural habitats (old deciduous forests and solitary growing trees are cut) and due to deterioration of environment (using of pesticides, etc). [...] The key solution is law protection based on territory (not only species) protection resulting in preservation of large natural habitats."


Personal communication (letter from 9/2/1994) by Dr. Jiri Simandl (Institute of Entomology, Czech Academy of Sciences - Ceské Budéjovice - Czech Republic).



Distribution: See map. Lowlands.

Current status and threat source: Scarce and scattered. Protected since 1934 in Germany and since 1954 in East Germany. Decrease in abundance is due to forest management, including removal of dead wood and use of both herbicides and pesticides against wood pests.


Kühnel, H.; Neumann, V. (1981). Die Lebenweise des Hirschkäfers (Lucanus cervus L.). Naturschutzarbeit in den Bezirken Halle und Magdeburg 18: 7-14.



Distribution: Present in all the states of Germany, excepting Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, where no records exist from 1990 onwards.

Current status and threat source: Protected since 1935; in big danger or close to extinction in several of the states. Abundance has decreased from the beginning of this century, although a slight increase may have occurred recently. Causes of this decrease are unknown but intensive forest management, cutting of old trees and increase of coniferous trees are supposed to play a role.

Some projects have tried to increase the abundance of the species by providing decaying wood for breeding in forests where the species is present.


Bürgin, H. (1992). Ein Eichelmeiler für den Hirschkäfer. Vogel Schutz Heft 4, 1992: 10-11.

Klausnitzer, B. (1995). Die Hirschkäfer. Lucanidae. 2. überarbeitete Auflage. Westarp Wissenschaften, Magdeburg.

Tochtermann, E. (1987). Modell zur Artenerhaltung der Lucanidae. Allg. Forst Zeitschrift 8/1987: 183-184.

Translated with the kind help of Lutz Ecstein (Dept. Ecological Botany, Uppsala University - Uppsala -Sweden) and Markus Kieffer (Depto. Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo - Oviedo - Spain).



Current status and threat source: "L. cervus is an endangered and protected species in Hungary. In the last 40-50 years the number of the beetle decreased because of the absence of suitable old oak trees. But in many parts of our country this beetle is easy to find especially where old oaks were cut and the stocks stay."


Personal communication (e-mail received on Wed. 21.Jan.1998) by Dr. Ferenc Lakatos (Dept. of Forest and Wood Protection -University of Sopron, School of Forestry -Hungary).



Distribution: Common in the north (e.g. Toscana) and progressively rarer towards the south.

Current status: "Lucanus cervus is not rare in Italy. [...] here it is not protected." Some percentual decrease in abundance could be caused by deforestation and fires, but the species is still abundant.

Threat source: "In reality it is not endangered, and no illegal trade exists, being the species rather common."


Personal communication (undated letter) by Dr. Luca Bartolozzi (Museo "La Specola", Firenze University - Firenze - Italy).

Bartolozzi, L. (1986). Note corologiche e morfologiche sui Lucanidae in Toscana. Atti Mus. civ. Stor. nat. Grosseto 7/8: 11-26.

Franciscolo, M. E. (1997). Fauna d'Italia. Coleoptera Lucanidae. Calderini, Bologna.

Bibliography kindly provided by Luca Bartolozzi (Firenze University) and José Ignacio López-Colón (Spain).



Current status: Extinct.

Other Lucanidae threatened: Ceruchus chrysomelinus (Endangered), Dorcus paralellepipedus (Vulnerable).

Source: - Appendix I. List of species included in Latvian Red Data Book. E. Insects.



Distribution: See map.

Current status: Less than 10 localities known, according to Cuppen (1992). A more recent map includes 15 10 X 10 km2 squares after 1980. The species does not seem to be decreasing in abundance in recent years (beginning of the 1980s).


Cuppen, J. G. M. (1992). Het recente voorkomen van tien keversoorten in Nederland (Coleoptera). Ent. Ber. 52: 177-184.

Krikken, J.; Pijpers, H. C. (1982). Het vliegend hert Lucanus cervus (Linnaeus) in Nederland. Nieuwsbr. eur. invert. Surv. Ned. 12: 35-43.

Translated with the kind help of Lutz Eckstein (Dept. Ecological Botany, Uppsala University - Uppsala - Sweden). Recent distribution map and bibliography kindly provided by Dré P. J. A. Teunissen (The Netherlands).



Distribution: See map. "The species occurs in the north of Portugal, extending south to the region of Coimbra (the southermost locality I found in the literature is Góis, a few kilometers south-east of Coimbra), but there are no records for the eastern portion of the north." The map shows both the known distribution of the Stag beetle in Portugal (stripped area) and the area in which it must occur but there are no data available at the moment (question mark).

Current status: "Surprisingly enough, there are less than twenty published localities for this species, from six districts (Braga, Bragança, Vila Real, Aveiro, Viseu and Coimbra) and, although some of the records are a century old (e.g., Bragança and Coimbra), I have no reason to suspect that the species is absent from where it existed, even if its numbers have decreased (which I can't say, because I don't know). According to local people, in some places the Stag beetle is abundant but, as usual, people tend to say it was more frequent in the past than it is nowadays."

Threat source: "In Portugal, the main threat to the Stag beetle is habitat loss, as it is throughout Europe, by the felling of oak-trees and the decrease of oak-wood areas. There appears to be very little if any commerce on artefacts made of Stag beetle' mandibles, as far as I could determine, and I also have no knowledge of any commerce of animals for entomological collections."


Personal communication (letter from 22 december 1998) by José Manuel Grosso-Silva (Porto - Portugal).



Distribution: See map. "There are also locally numerous Lucanus cervus cervus populations in lowlands of Slovakia." See information about Czech Republic.


Personal communication (letter from 9/2/1994) by Dr. Jiri Simandl (Institute of Entomology, Czech Academy of Sciences - Ceské Budéjovice - Czech Republic).



Distribution: See map. Northern half of the country, mainly in the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Euskadi, Navarra, La Rioja, Aragón and Cataluña. The southernmost nucleus of the species is present in the Sierra de Guadarrama and Sierra de Gredos (middle Spain, comprising the provinces of Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Madrid, Toledo and Cáceres). A few records exist for the southern half of Spain, but they deserve careful scrutiny before acceptation.

Current status and threat source: No temporal trend is available. Around 425 squares of 10 X 10 km2 occupied. Still common in northern Spain. Guadarrama-Gredos nucleus could be more or less isolated from the norhtern spanish nucleus. Loss of habitat and reforestation with exotic tree species (Pinus, Eucalyptus) could affect this species (specially in the Guadarrama-Gredos nucleus) but no study has been performed to test this.

The stag beetle is protected by the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid.


Proyecto Ciervo Volante (1996). Informe sobre el status del Ciervo Volante, Lucanus cervus, en España. Unpublished report.

Viejo Montesinos, J. L.; Sánchez Cumplido, C. (1994). Leyes y normas que protegen a los insectos en España. Quercus 96: 13-17.



Distribution: See map. Southwestern Sweden, from Skåne to Uppland.

Current Status and threat source: Rare and very local species. 11 to 50 localities known; in some of them locally abundant. However, the population trend from the 50's is to decrease in abundance. Threat category: Rare - Vulnerable. Threat comes from loss of habitat, mainly big oakwoods with old trees.

Other Lucanidae threatened: Ceruchus chrysomelinus, Aesalus scarabaeoides.


Ehnström, B.; Waldén, H. W. (1986). Faunavård i skogsbruket - den lägre faunan (The protection and management of endangered and declining invertebrate species in Swedish woodlands). Skogsstyrelsen, Jönköping. 351 pp. (in swedish with english summary).

Complemented with data from the project "Production and Environment" at SLU, Uppsala, kindly provided by Mats Jonsell (Dept. of Entomology - Swedish Agricultural University - Uppsala - Sweden)



Distribution: See map. Small populations in several places, preferably in warmer regions of the country until an altitude of about 1400 m. Mainly recorded in Ticino, Valais, Grisons, Basel and Geneve, but also found in the cantons Bern, Neuchatel, Vaud, Aargau, Zürich, Schwyz, Thurgau, Obwalden, Lucerne, St. gallen and Schaffhausen.

Current status: Protected in all cantons, rather rare in the whole country, mostly small populations, some of them more or less isolated. Stag beetles were never really abundant and are declining since many decades, although a slight increase in the last years is possibly due to the bad state (management less intensive) of the forests.

Source of threat: Loss of habitat through the lack of ancient trees and removal of dead wood. Forests are deficient in rotten stumps and logs which remain untouched for time long enough and which have a considerable diameter.


Allenspach, V. (1970). Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Lucanidae. Insecta Helvetica Catalogus 2: 1-186.

Sprecher, E.; Durrer, H. (1998). Über das Vorkommen des Hirschkäfers Lucanus cervus L. in der Region Basel. Mitt. ent. Ges. Basel 48: 142-166.

Text and bibliography kindly provided by Eva Sprecher (Entomological Department - Natural History Museum Basel - Basel - Switzerland).



Distribution: See web. Mainly confined to the south east of England with a few scattered colonies in central and south-west England and in Wales. For historical records of distribution, see Donisthorpe (1941) and Clark (1966). The current distribution pattern shows an affinity for coastal areas and low-lying river corridors in the warmer, drier parts of the UK but apparently avoiding areas of chalk and clay soils.

Current status: Nationally scarce (less than 100 of the 10 km squares of the OS grid). Believed to be declining. A national survey carried out in 1998 confirmed three core areas for the species:east Dorset / south Hampshire / west Sussex; Greater London / west Surrey /east Berkshire / north Kent; and north-east Essex / south Suffolk. Only a few isolated colonies or individuals reported from elsewhere in the south and south west of the UK where it is believed to have been more widespread in the past Threat category: Notable B.

Source of threat: Loss of broad-leaved woodland and parkland through, for example, clear-felling and coniferisation. Habitat loss, in particular, through the felling of ancient trees, removal of dead wood from living trees and the destruction or removal of standing and fallen dead wood for reasons as forest hygiene, aesthetic tidiness, public safety or for use as fire wood. Collecting has been considered a major threat in Europe.

Other Lucanidae threatened: Platycerus caraboides (considered extinct).

Protection initiatives: From 1998, People's Trust for Endangered Species is leading an action plan for conserving the stag beetle. More information at


Clark, J. T. (1966). The distribution of Lucanus cervus (L.) (Col., Lucanidae) in Britain. Entomologists' Monthly Magazine 102: 199-204.

Donisthorpe, H. (1941). The distribution of Lucanus cervus L. (Col., Lucanidae) in Britain.Entomologists' Monthly Magazine 77: 198-199.

Drake, M. (1984). Species conservation handbook. Stag beetle (Lucanus cervus). Invertebrates 4.1: 1-2.

Hyman, P. S.; Parsons, M. S. (1992). A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain. JNCC, Peterborough.

Distribution and Current status kindly provided by Dr. Valerie Keeble (People Trust for Endangered Species - London - United Kingdom). Bibliography kindly provided by Dr. Roger S. Key (Lowlands Team, English Nature - Peterborough - United Kingdom).