There have been massive declines in the UK, she said, but in some parts of England the insect is hanging on.
Stag beetles are relatively widespread in southern England, and are also found in the Severn valley and coastal areas of the south west.
Elsewhere in Britain, they are rare or extinct.
“It’s stable in England as far as we can tell – the range hasn’t changed but it is hard to give accurate numbers,” she said. “This is a really important key population which is why we want to find out as much as possible about it.”
Loss of habitat is one factor in the beetle’s decline as well as the trend to have pristine gardens.
Clearing up dead wood and digging up stumps is bad news for stag beetles, as their larvae spend years living in rotting wood before emerging for a few brief weeks of life in the outside world.
“People want tidy, low maintenance gardens so there aren’t those wild areas you used to have,” said Bower.
“We really want the public to record sightings so we can keep an eye on them. If they can leave dead wood or put a log pile in, that would be good too.”
So have my children rekindled their fascination with nature?
The tablets still hold sway, but my son has a new impression to add to his repertoire.
He holds both hands to his head, like antlers, and shouts: “I’m a stag beetle!”