Working Group on Iberian Lucanidae (GTLI)

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Justification and objectives
During 1995-96, the Spanish Entomological Society gathered the information available for all Spanish arthropods included in the Habitat Directive of the EU. The GTLI, then called “Project Stag Beetle” (PCV), was in charge of updating the Spanish distribution of the Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus and collaborated in the final report (Galante & Verdú, 2000).

The updated distribution map, much more detailed than any other produced until then for this species in Spain, allowed to assess the status of the Stag Beetle according to the criteria B of the IUCN (Comisión de Supervivencia de Especies de la UICN, 1994). The Stag Beetle was considered as “Lower Risk (LR)” in Spain. However, a closer examen of the distribution of the Stag Beetle in Spain could give reasons for concern. Two main distribution areas are observed in the Iberian Peninsula: a northern area which runs from West to East from Galicia to Catalonia, and a central area around Guadarrama range and Toledo mountains. This last area corresponds to the sudoccidental limit in the European distribution of the Stag Beetle (Franciscolo, 1997). Due to the human pressure (turism, development) currently existing in the Guadarrama range, such central area in the distribution of the Stag Beetle could be very vulnerable. In addition, this central area seems to be isolated with respect to the northern area and, thus, potentially susceptible to detrimental effects of genetic isolation (endogamic depression and loss of adaptability in front of potential environmental changes). Detailed studies of the populations in Guadarrama range and Toledo mountains would be desirable in order to guarantee the persistance of the Stag Beetle at its distribution limit.

The present project intends to study the genetic relationships between different Spanish populations of the Stag Beetle. This study will allow to assess whether populations in Guadarrama range and Toledo Mountains have a distinct or depauperated genetic composition with respect to other Spanish populations, and whether such genetic composition makes them especially vulnerable. It will also allow to assess the isolation degree and to decide whether protection measures are needed (modification of the threat status at regional or national level; management devoted to decrease isolation or guarantee the persistence of these periferal populations).

How to collaborate
All what is needed are specimens of L. cervus. It is not necessary to kill the animals; it is enough with the collection of dead specimens such as those usually found on roads or streets, as well as rests left by natural avian predators. Below, some basic rules for material collections are given

(1) One leg is enough. Avoid very decomposed, dried specimens, as well as those attacked by ants; choose those which have dead recently.

(2) Specimens must be stored in individualized vials, conveniently labelled (place and date of collection, name of the collaborator), and filled with 95% alcohol.

(3) Sampling has to be done in a 10 x 10 km square basis. In a given locality, just one individual should be collected per day. If several individuals are collected on the same day, localities should be 750-100 m apart. If several individuals are collected on the same locality, this should be done on different days, preferently with a lapse of three days.

(4) Collect 5 to 10 individuals.

(5) Please, contact the GTLI in advance, in order to request the permits needed for the collection of specimens and to get the vials for the samples.


Comisión de Supervivencia de Especies de la UICN 1994. Categorías de las listas rojas de la UICN. 40º Reunión del Consejo de la UICN, Suiza.

Franciscolo, M. E. 1997. Fauna d’Italia. Coleoptera Lucanidae. Edizioni Calderini, Bolonia.

Galante, E.; Verdú, J. R. 2000. Los artrópodos de la "Directiva Hábitat" en España. Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales, Madrid.

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Last updated: 14 February 2008