Etymology: The species name elaphus is often mistaken with an English term "elephant" of the large well-known Megasoma elephas, the Elephant Rhinoceros Beetles occurring in South America. However, it is a misunderstanding from a wrong translation. The species name elaphus is derived from the Greek word for stag, which is a male deer.
Comment: Adult beetles attracted to lights. It is the longest stag beetle species found in the U.S., in the North America (Nearctic region). Morphological characters of males are highly variable per size, especially in mandibles. Major males has more curved inward-forward mandibles whereas minor males presents mandibles only curved inward.
Although Lucanus elaphus is not a difficult species to rear or breed, not many people yet has reared a complete cycle, simply because of such a small community of beetle enthusiasts are available in the U.S. Larval size is very similar to its sister species, Lucanus capreolus, as the L. elaphus has very large mandibles compared to it in adult stage, and its average body (head-to-toe without mandible) size is very similar. Therefore, size only (in larval stage) cannot distinguish one species.