Lucanidae (Stag beetles) - Uncovering Gondwana

The stag beetle family, Lucanidae, contains about 1,300 species. They are an interesting, unique lineage of scarab beetles due to their often enormous size and ornamental mandibles of the males. Darwin, in “The Descent of Man" (1871) hypothesised about the evolutionary origins of this spectacular mandible development in stag beetles. Considered one of the most primitive groups of living scarabaeoids, they are one of the earliest branching lineages of the Scarabaeoidea with their origin dating to the Middle Jurassic around 167 million years ago. The divergence history amongst many Lucanid lineages closely corresponds to the sequential break-up of Gondwana.

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