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Broad-toothed stag beetle

Current status

[Photo of Stag beetle by P. McQuillan.]

The Broad-toothed stag beetle (Lissotes latidens) is listed as endangered under Tasmania's Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Federal Act.

What do we know about this beetle?

It belongs to a group of beetles known as Lissotes stag beetles. There are only 28 species of Lissotes, three in Victoria and 25 endemic to Tasmania. Two or three of them are widespread, but most are quite restricted in their range.

The broad-toothed stag beetle is the rarest of these beetles. It was found at Maria Island in the 1960's but has not been seen there since (although little research has been done there). It also occurs on private land at Bust-Me-Gall Hill and at 6 sites in Weilangta State Forest near Orford.

Why is it a Threatened Species?

It is threatened because it is so rare and is only recorded from a few locations. These locations are all subject to threatening processes such as clearing. The beetle larvae feed in rotting logs on the ground. Too frequent firing means these logs get consumed by fires. Another threat to the beetle's log supply is from forestry practises in which whole coups are clearfelled and then re-sown. It takes another 40 or 50 years before there are suitable fallen logs available. Unfortunately some sites in Weilangta Forest are subject to firewood concessions, which means fallen logs are collected.

Another threat to the beetle's survival is their attractiveness. They are much sought after by beetle collectors. In the past logs were smashed during beetle hunts, which makes logs dry out rapidly, reducing the beetle's food supply. They are very slow growers because of their poor diet of rotting wood, and they remain larvae for several years.

What is being done?

Searches for these beetles continue and their ecology is being studied. Education is a very important tool for promoting the survival of this species. Foresters and other land managers need to take into consideration such species when developing their management plans. Collectors are being made aware of the damage caused by breaking up rotting logs and of the need to consider the implications of collecting threatened species.

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