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the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Lucanidae (stag beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea

Medium to large beetles (15-35mm). Smooth and usually black or dark or reddish brown. It is thought that adults do not feed or might take nectar and/or plant sap. Male mandibles are large and toothed, usually larger than the female. The larvae bore into decaying wood and are therefore associated with forests. However, Colophon is the exception. Little is known about this genus that is limited to higher regions of some mountains of the south western Cape in South Africa. They are thought to feed on  roots of Restionaceae (grasses, sedges).

Some subfamilies that occur in southern Africa.

Subfamily Cladognathinae


Subfamily Lucaninae

This subfamily includes the genus Colophon (Cape stag beetles) that is endemic to the Western Cape. There are 17 species, each found on a particular mountain range in this region.

Colophon westwoodi, male. [image M. Cochrane, Iziko  ]

Images and text by Margie Cochrane, Iziko