Lucanus elephas,  Elephant Stag Beetle male on a Box bush near Antioch, Louisiana. Image and copyright C. Paxton

Lucanus elephas, Elephant Stag Beetle male on a Box bush near Farmerville, Louisiana. Taken on Sigma SD1 with Sigma 70-300mm lens at macro setting, F29 1.5 secs ISO 100. Image and copyright C. Paxton.

Few insects have the gravitas of the larger beetles and of these, the Elephant Stag Beetle or Giant Stag Beetle is one of the finest.  They can live up to two years according to my Audubon Society Field guidebook to Insects and Spiders and the adults may eat plant juices, while the larvae feed on rotten wood. The males are known to engage in fierce combat. The winner will flip the loser onto its back, or off the tree or stump that comprises the battleground.

A close-up of the head of Lucanus elephas, Elephant Stag Beetle male. Photo and copyright C.Paxton.

A close-up of the head of Lucanus elephas, Elephant Stag Beetle male. Photo and copyright C.Paxton.