This remarkable stage in its development is the first point at which the male and female beetles can be easily distinguished, as a male pupa will sprout its distinctive mandibles, amongst all the other features it develops that makes it recognisable as the beetle it is about to become.
The pupal stage lasts for up to around 60 days, at the end of which the beetle is finally ready to assume its adult form.
As this day approaches, dark details can be seen ever clearer beneath the pupa’s skin, which starts to take on a dry, papery appearance. Eventually, fully formed legs will start to break through, and over the next 24 hours the beetle will fully break free of its pupal skin, fully developed. It’s still not time for it to emerge yet though – it will spend the rest of the autumn and winter underground, waiting for the temperatures to rise as summer approaches.
Come summer, the beetle will dig its way up to the surface, emerging into daylight for the very first time in its life – ready to head out into the world and start the cycle all over again…