A Lifelike Beetle
The German artist Albrecht Dürer painted this huge, lifelike portrait of a male stag beetle about 500 years ago. Its slightly reared head makes it appear that it's on the hunt.
Stag beetles, also called pinching bugs, have large hooked chewing jaws that are very powerful and almost as long as the beetles themselves. If their "pinch" is hard enough, they can actually draw blood from victims. The females' jaws are smaller but even more powerful than the males'! They are one of the largest of the ground-dwelling beetles, ranging from one and a half to three inches long.
The stag beetle is a very important symbol in Germany, where Dürer lived. In German folklore, the male stag beetle was associated with Thor, the god of thunder, lightning, and burning embers. People believed that Thor, with the help of the stag beetle, set fire to thatched buildings.