In Europe, five different Lucanus species occur, L. cervus, L. (Pseudolucanus) barbarossa, L. pontbrianti, L. tetraodon and L. ibericus. Further in Minor Asia several additional species occur but are not the topic of this website. In many parts of Europe, where none of the bellow mentioned species occur, there is no need to determine the exact Lucanus species. Moreover, only few locations in Europe are known to have more than one Lucanus species present. For transects were multiple species occur, you can distinguish your observations of L. cervus, Lucanus spec. (in case you don’t know the exact species) and the other Lucanus species present and upload it as such on the website. If you have trouble identifying these specimen, you can surely ask help from the country responsibles. When monitoring a transect, it can be extremely difficult to determine the different Lucanus species when an animal is in flight. In this case you can note Lucanus spec. When you find a dead or non-flying individual, determining the exact species might be more easily.
Interactive map of species’ distribution
Map legend: Green: L. cervus; Purple: L. (P.) barbarossa; Red: L. pontbrianti; Blue: L. tetraodon and yellow: L. ibericus
A trained eye might distinguish these different species mainly based on their general form but this might be more difficult for people that have never tried to distinguish these species. A first ting to look at is the number of antennal lamella at the end of the antenna. L. cervus has in general 4, but 5 can rarely occur and 6 or 7 are very exceptional. Only in Greece, Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey, populations occur with entirely or predominantly 6 lamella (the so called turcicus form). This species has the largest variability in size (♂: 25-92mm, ♀: 27-50mm). The male mandibles are long compared to all the following species and has many denticles at the inner side. The large median tooth is positoned over the middle of the mandible and the apex (end) is mostly bifid (splitting in two end points). The body is slender and of a dull collor. The pronotal side is not sinuate before the blunt posterior angle (more info).
Lucanus (Pseudolucanus) barbarossa
This species is sometimes clasified in the seperate subgenus Pseudolucanus. This species is found in Spain, Portugal and Morocco and some populations have been found in France near the Spanish border. This species is in general smaller (♂: 28-45mm, ♀: 20-38mm) than L. cervus and the male mandibles are much shorter, roundly curved and with only one small tooth in the middle. This species has 6 antennal lamella which are longer than those of L. cervus. The body is stout and more shinny compared to L. cervus. The pronotal side is strongly sinuate before the posterior angle (more info).
Lucanus pontbrianti (syn. Lucanus fabiani)
This taxon is only recently accepted as a separate species as it was long considered as a subspecies or form of L. cervus. It mainly occurs in the South of France but some populations occur in Spain as well. This species reaches less large compared to L. cervus and mandibles of male L. pontbrianti end with a single apex. This species has 5 lamella on the antenna. More info on this species will follow soon as currently a scientific paper on this species is written.
This species can be subdivided in different subspecies based on different geographical regions: the main form is found in the southern part of the Italian mainland and the coast of Albania and Greece while three other forms are found in France (Var), Corsica and Sicily. Also this species reaches less large (♂: 30-55mm, ♀: 30-43mm) compared to L. cervus. Mandibles of male L. tetraodon are a bit shorter, broader and the median tooth is found before the middle of the mandibule. This species has 6, rarely 5, lamella on the antenna. The lamella are a bit longer than those of L. cervus. The body is stouter than L. cervus. The pronotal side is sinuate before the quite sharp posterior angle (more info).
This species occurs in Albania, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, the Caucasus region and parts of the Middle East. Also this species reaches less large specimen (♂: 28-50mm, ♀: 30-40mm) compared to L. cervus. Mandibles of male L. ibericus are a bit shorter, broader and the median tooth is situated around the middle of the mandible. The apex can be simple as well as bifid. This species has 6, rarely 5, lamella on the antenna, which are longer than those of L. cervus. The body is stouter than L. cervus and pronotum and head are of the same colour as the wing cases. The pronotal side is sinuate before the sharp posterior angle (more info).