Big bug found in Latvia for first time in 50 years

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Sensation in the Latvian world of entomology -- a male stag beetle (Lucanus cervus L.) has been found near Dobele after more than 50 years, said Maija Rēna, representative of the Nature Conservation Agency, August 6.

Lucanus cervus L. is the largest beetle in Europe, the male body, together with the horns, can reach nearly 10 centimeters. Few sightings of this species have been officially registered in Latvia, the previous one more than half a century ago. Stag beetles inhabit biologically old forests, while larvae feed on rotting wood. For larvae to be able to develop normally, they must feed for at least five years.

Gita Strode, director of the main department of the Nature Conservation Agency, said: "The discovery of such a species protected at European Union level shows that suitable habitats for a variety of rare species have remained in Latvia, in this case, large old oaks. It is a healthy ecosystem in which dozens and even hundreds of different species of insects, moss, lichen, mushrooms live interdependently. Large old trees are an essential part of Latvia's cultural landscape, which also serves to preserve biodiversity."

A student of the Daugavpils University Biology study program, Viktorija Adamoviča, found the dead male specimen in the courtyard of a private house near Dobele, under an oak. The previous sighting was registered in 1969 in Ieriķi. 

Daugavpils University experts surveyed the area but did not find any other beetles of the species, dead or alive.

The family living in the house is interested in the research and protection of this species and is prepared to further inform the research community of Daugavpils University of any stag parties.

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