Volunteers across Devon are being asked to record sightings of a spectacular rare beetle and take part in the ‘Great Stag Hunt’ survey.

Stag beetles were once widespread, but due to habitat loss they are now declining and have even become extinct in some parts of Britain and Western Europe. To prevent that from further happening the People’s Trust for Endangered Species is calling for nature lovers, families and individuals to help this summer by recording all sightings of male and female stag beetles and their larvae (large, white grubs), online at: www.ptes.org/gsh. People across Devon are being asked to record stag beetle sightings from late May into July.

Stag beetles are easy to spot ­— they’re the UK’s largest land beetles and the males are instantly recognisable with their antler-like jaws. From late May into July these iconic insects emerge from the ground in search of mates and are usually spotted flying around gardens, parks and allotments on warm summer evenings. They can also be seen on walls and warm tarmac surfaces in urban areas and in other green spaces too such as woodland edges, hedgerows and traditional orchards.

Laura Bower, conservation officer, at PTES said: ‘Last year almost 10,000 sightings were recorded by thousands of volunteers, giving us a real insight into where their range is, which is crucial for the species’ long-term survival. More help is always needed though, so whether you’re out in the garden, dog walking in a local park, on the school run or even walking to the pub, keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful beetles and tell us about any you see.’

Last year, only one Devon sighting was submitted, so PTES is keen to hear from anyone who spots a stag beetle this year to see if numbers are similar, or have increased or decreased.

For more information or to take part in the survey visit: https://stagbeetles.ptes.org/