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Stag beetle (vliegend hert - Lucanus cervus)

I had a marvelous encounter with this beautiful animal last week. They are only active this time of year and only for a short period of time (weeks). Living mainly on mature oak trees and sparsely distributed in Holland and Belgium, they are hard to find. But once you found them there is plenty of time to photograph. They do not run away. They are only interested in reproduction, finding females and mate. The females live from the sap that flows from scratches and wounded parts of the tree. The males do not eat. The females disperse a feronome that is irresistible for the males.

During my stay in this suitable habitat I looked for the beetle but it was only with the help from photoguide Henri Van Vliet who runs workshop for it, that we were successful.

The workshop was on Saturday evening and was great: good light, plenty of beetles, but a photographer is never satisfied so I returned on Sunday and on Monday although it was a one way 20km bike ride, with carefully packed photo gear in the bike bags.

And it paid off. Overall I had them low on the trunk and high in the tree, I had them on the ground and I had them fighting, flying and even mating.

Enjoy watching and feel free to leave a comment.

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