Worcestershire Record No. 5 Nov 1998 p. 16


Bronwen Bruce

Biodiversity Action Plan Officer 

The public survey for the stag beetle, Lucanus cervus carried out in the summer of this year was quite a success! After agreeing to co-ordinate the survey locally on behalf of the People's Trust for Endangered Species I was amazed at the response I got to requests for records. The last BRC record for the species was in 1990 at Upton-upon-Severn and not surprisingly most of the records came from here. However the staff at the Worcestershire Woods Countryside Centre let me know about records from Perry and Nunnery Woods, these were identified by the country park staff as definitely stag beetles. Other likely Worcester records include a log pile within a school grounds.

Many of the Upton records were confirmed by people sending in whole or parts of dead beetles. There seemed too many records for the beetles to be emerging from one specific site such as a single tree stump so in August Harry Green and I followed up the records by meeting some eye witnesses to try and determine where the beetles were emerging from.

The records seem to come form two distinct areas so may represent two distinct colonies. The first centres around the Parish Church with adults emerging from rotting stumps in gardens and from deadwood in the old hedgerow that runs along back alleys and the allotment. It is possible that larvae may be present in large copper beeches, horse chestnuts and a large robinia tree in the area. As you may have guessed stag beetles are not fussy about whether the tree is indigenous to England just so long as it is partially rotted/colonised by fungi.

The second area used to incorporate extensive allotments, a walnut orchard and grounds of the Old Hall and stable block (dating back to the 1770s). It is possible that the two populations were linked, but since this second area is now a housing estate the stag beetle population is hanging on to the old remaining wood features. Stag beetles have been seen emerging from an old beech stump in front of the Old Hall (now flats) and from holly tree logs taken from the village boundary hedge (now in a garden). Other habitat possibilities include in a mature Evergreen Oak Pollard (near the Beech Stump) and along the boundary hedgerow (where the holly logs came from).

Next year we hope to focus recording on Worcester to try and find out where the adults are emerging form, and in countryside surrounding Upton. The Upton records do come from rather urban areas where it would be easy to spot the Stag Beetle, but the beetles may have been overlooked in suitable habitats close to Upton.

This year there were also isolated sightings from Pinvin and Cleeve Prior. The recorders were confident of identification but we have no way of confirming these record without further study. Several people sent us records which were in fact probably cockchafers. We also received pupae found in rotton wood which were of the commoner Lesser Stag Beetle Dorcas parallopipedus.

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