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Lucanus cervus cervus

Lucanus cervus Linné, 1758
Scarabaeus cervus Linné, 1758 - Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Tome I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae: p. 353.
Lucanus cervus var. pentaphyllus Reiche, 1853 - Annales de la société entomologique de France, I, p. 71. (syn. fabianii Mulsant, 1855).
Lucanus turcicus Sturm, 1843 - Catalog meiner Insecten-Sammlung. Nürnberg: p. 347 (subspecies).
Lucanus cervus var. akbesianus Planet, 1896 - Essai monographique sur les Coléoptères des genres Pseudolucane et Lucane. Le Naturaliste, 18: p.256.
Lucanus cervus var. turcicus forme syriacus Planet, 1897: Sur une forme syrienne inédite du Lucanus cervus var. turcicus. Bulletin de la Société entomologiste de France: p. 65 (nomen preoccupatum by Lucanus syriacus Motschulsky, 1870, synonymous of Lucanus ibericus Motschulsky, 1845).
Lucanus cervus var. judaicus Planet, 1900: Description d’un Coléoptère nouveau. Le Naturaliste, 22: 21-22 (subspecies).

Length of the body 25-103 mm, brown black and the antennas with a very long scape and the club with 4 to 7 segments, and with a strong sexual dimorphism. The female has a smaller body, short and thick mandibles, the pronotum broader than the head, and the anterior tibiae rather short and strong. Male has a rectangular head broader than the pronotum and with marked lateral angles.

The polymorphism of the males is strong and is in relation to the size of the specimens that in particular affects the development of the head and of the mandibles which can be short and right or long and sickle-shaped. These mandibles have always the strongest interns tooth in median or post-median position. Independently of polymorphism, it is possible nevertheless to distinguish various populations of Lucanus cervus, specimens having the number of the articles of the antennal club from four to seven segments.

The geographical races turcicus Sturm and judaicus Planet of Lucanus cervus have been described utilizing only the criterion of the number of antennal articles (dominating in the different populations), and by regarding the taxon akbesianus described by Planet only as the one simple telodonte form of the male of Lucanus cervus ssp. turcicus (6 articles in general).

It’s an opinion among others, but it is based on the observations carried out on populations of Lucanus from Taurus and Nur Daghlari mountains, where akbesianus is quite localized on small sectors near the area of distribution of the typical populations of judaicus (coming from the East with 4 articles in the club and an often impressive development of the mandibles) and of turcicus (coming from the west with in general 6 articles in the club).

The taxon akbesianus would be thus only one half-caste to be attached to the subspecie turcicus according to the number of antennal articles. Such is my opinion (P.H. Tauzin) but I do not have unfortunately a sledgehammer argument (I devoted 8 voyages in Turkey on the subject). In particular, edeagus of the males do not bring unfortunately of solutions to individualize them and it is difficult to generalize the LG/Lg ratios of some element of the morphology.

We have in fact followed the opinion of my late friend and colleague Jacques Baraud in his work on "Lucanoidea d’Europe" of 1993.

There is of course often in the individualized populations of Lucanus, some exceptions with 4, 5 and 6 gills which probably testify to the consequences of a more or less old interbreeding of the 2 various races with 4 and 6 gills and this problem has remainder posed in term of genetic plan at the Laboratory of Montpellier (sequencing part of DNA mitochondrial of the French populations).

It should be noted too that for Greece and Bulgaria, it seems that many specimens present traces of an interbreeding between cervus cervus (4 articles of the club) and cervus turcicus (6 articles of the club).

In the Levant where the species can present sometimes an exceptional development in length, Lucanus cervus is represented by three taxa characterized by the number of antennal club segments:

Lucanus cervus ssp. turcicus Sturm, 1843 - antennal club of 6 segments
Lucanus cervus ab.(?) pentaphyllus Reiche, 1902 - antennal club of 5 segments
Lucanus cervus ssp. judaicus Planet, 1900 - antennal club of 4 segments.

Location: Europe
Min. size: 30mm
Max. size: 90mm
Collection: Capt. Philippe Bourdon [ collected by the author ]

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