A transect walk
The transect is 500 m long and should be walked from start to end at a gentle pace taking 30 minutes to complete it. It might be useful to organize a trial session to calibrate your speed with the aid of reference points (83.3 m per 5 minutes). The survey should start 15 minutes before sunset (the time of sunset for the nearest city can be calculated here). The transect is walked by only one surveyor that makes the observations and records them.
Before starting the transect note the:
- Transect name
- Date of transect walk
- Name of surveyor
- Sunset time
- Starting time
- Wind speed (Beaufort scale): 0 = no wind (0 Beaufort), 1 = wind felt on exposed skin, smoke, leaves and flags move (1-2 Beaufort), 2 = dust and loose paper raised, small branches move, flags and clothes flutter (3-4 Beaufort), 3 = trees rustle, small trees and large branches move, empty plastic bins tip over (5-6 Beaufort) and 4 = whole trees in motion, flags taut, effort needed to walk or bike against the wind (7 or more Beaufort).
- Initial temperature
- Initial relative air humidity (if possible)
Note all stag beetles (Lucanus cervus) within a virtual box of approximately 10 m in front of the surveyor and 5 m to each side of the surveyor. For each observation, note the time, number, sex and activity. Use M (male), F (female) or U (unknown) for sex and DR (dead/remains), CO (copulating), NF (non flying), FL (flying) and U (unknown, changing during observation or not notated) for activity. In some regions other Lucanus species are known to be present and in that case observations might be noted as L. spec. if species is uncertain. So observations could for example be written down as:
- 22h03: 1F DR (1 female dead/remains)
- 22h17: 2M FL (2 male flying)
Please collect any remains that you find of dead stag beetles. These can be used for further identification by a specialist and/or for genetic or morphometric studies. Label them and If possible store them separately in pure ethanol (without ether) or in paper tissue for genetic analyses. Send the remains at the end of the season to the responsible at your country. Please take into account that in most of the countries the European stag beetle is protected by law. This means you might need a permit to collect dead stag beetles.
A PDF file is available in different languages to fill in the observations in the field: Field sheet. Afterwards, observations should be reported via our website. To do this you need to first register.
Next step: Conducting yearly habitat observations