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Language: English with bilingual summary in English and Maori
The Lucanidae is a small, diverse family distributed worldwide, with about 110 genera and about 1300 described species. The New Zealand lucanid fauna comprises 39 species, of which 35 are endemic and belong in five endemic genera, and four are foreign.
In some parts of the world, especially in the northern hemisphere and tropics, the stag beetle family includes large spectacular species, easily recognised as stag beetles by the long tusk-like or antler-like mandibles of males; in parts of Asia they may even be kept as pets. The endemic New Zealand stag beetles by comparison are inconspicuous and rather cryptic, most spending their entire lives in native habitats and having to be searched for to be seen. They are neither brightly coloured nor shiny, instead have dullish brown or black integument, sometimes with tufts or patches of yellowish or brown scales or hairs. All the species of the New Zealand genera Geodorcus and Paralissotes, and females of one species of Mitophyllus are unable to fly because their wings are reduced to vestiges. Two Geodorcus species have been given legal protection.
In this Fauna contribution the morphology of New Zealand's stag beetles is discussed and illustrated. The configuration of the male and female genitalia of Lucanidae is important as an indicator of genera, and new information is presented here. All the genera and previously known species are redescribed and morphological structures including male and female genitalia are illustrated for the endemic species and, when appropriate, for the exotic species. The composition and relationships of the New Zealand lucanid fauna are discussed, and the known distribution and altitudinal ranges of the species are summarised and mapped. Habitats and the food of adults and larvae are discussed in general terms and in detail under each species. Keys for the identification of subfamilies, genera, and species of lucanids found in New Zealand are given.