Currently viewing the category: "Carrion Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: MD
October 31, 2013 3:48 am
I saw this bug near my garden just two days ago (29 Oct 13). He was walking on the ground.
Signature: Sheryl

American Carrion Beetle

American Carrion Beetle

Hi Sheryl,
American Carrion Beetles like the one in your photo are often found in association with small dead animals or rotting fungus.

Thanks!!! What a great site.  Thanks for your Labor of Love.
Sheryl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Burying Beetle SE Alaska
Location: Juneau, AK
September 3, 2013 4:19 pm
Dear Bugman,
I took this photo on the trail on Mt Roberts in Juneau Alaska about 10 days ago. I think its a Burying Beetle, but I wasn’t sure which species. Anyway, thought I’d share it with you–its not the clearest photo but he’s very cute.
Signature: Moira

Burying Beetle

Burying Beetle

Dear Moira,
We get so few photos from Alaska.  Thanks for submitting your photo of a Burying Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I wonder if you’ve seen some of these before…
Location: Pointe-a-la-Garde, Quebec
August 31, 2013 6:20 pm
This evening, 8 of these bumblebee/beetle type insects invaded my house. My dog injured one of them and then three other of these insects attacked and killed the injured one.
Signature: Thanks for taking a look! Alex.

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Dear Alex,
This is definitely a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus, and we are relatively certain it is the Tomentose Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus based on photos posted to BugGuide.  Burying Beetles often bury small dead animals and the putrefying flesh acts as food for developing larvae.  Adults often work in pairs to bury small animals and they defend the young, a behavioral trait that is very rare in beetles.  We don’t understand why you had such a sighting, unless you have an earthen floor in the basement or there was a dead animal somewhere in your home that acted as a breeding ground for this group of beetles.  The feeding melee that resulted after one individual was injured was a very interesting observation.  They are probably very hungry and just want to get out of the house.

Burying Beetle Melee

Burying Beetle Melee

Thank you so much Daniel.  I have been digging out my 100+ year old foundation, and I have found some quite large burrying holes around the exterior of the house.  Although I do have many grass snakes that take care of my rodent (non-issues).  Plus there are bats, hawks owls and eagles here, so the odds of finding dead rodents are probable.
Thanks for having your site!
Alex.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Burying Beetle
Location: Inland Northwest
May 26, 2013 2:33 pm
We found this character in our backyard in a bird feed dish that was on the ground and had pools of water in it with some mushy plant material that had fallen in as well. It was near a dead bloated worm and had all of these little guys crawling all over it. We weren’t sure if it was a parental or parasitic situation so I dumped the whole lot in a tuft of grass and put the dish up. Later a friend told us that burying beetles often carry swarms of mites on their bodies to help keep them clean of microbes and fly eggs.
Signature: Dave

Burying Beetle with Mites

Burying Beetle with Mites

Dear Dave,
This is in fact a Burying Beetle and the information you received is correct.  The Mites are phoretic and they do not harm the beetle.  They use the beetle for transportation and it is believed that the mites feed on maggots and fly eggs that would compete with the larval beetles for precious food of rotting flesh on the small dead animals the adult Burying Beetles locate and bury for their offspring.  We will be postdating this submission to go live next week during our absence from the office.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big huge bug!!
Location: Outside @ Walgreens
May 17, 2013 4:01 pm
I saw this big ol’ bug outside of Walgreens in Minnesota. I’ve never seen one before! It was huge! Probably a little more than an inch long, and moving pretty slowly. I took a picture with my foot for size comparison but I didn’t want to get too close in case it decided to crawl on me…
Signature: Leslie

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

Hi Leslie,
This is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, but we cannot say for certain which species it is.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide some suggestions.  Sexton Beetles often work in pairs to bury small, dead animals.  Eggs are laid on the putrifying flesh and the adults help to guard the growing brood.  More information on Sexton Beetles as well as photos of many North American species are posted on BugGuide.  We actually think this Sexton Beetle would look lovely crawling on your stylish footwear.  Because we occasionally get images of insects that contribute to fashion statements, we created a Buggy Accessories tag that we hope our readers find amusing.  Though we would have to imagine this Sexton Beetle accessorizing your fashionable running shoes, it isn’t too difficult as our staff has such vivid imaginations, so we are taking the liberty of tagging your post as a Buggy Accessory.

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Various Carrion Beetles
Location: Barrington, New Hampshire
May 7, 2013 2:38 pm
Howdy Bugman!
Been awhile since I sent you anything, but as spring is here and the insects are creeping back out, I thought you might like to see some of the recent fruits of photographing. Today while searching a favorite spot of mine, I came across the carcass of a small animal with no less than three species of Carrion Beetle feeding on it. If I have them correctly identified, it starts with a Margined Carrion Beetle, then a Northern one and finally an American one. This was a great find for me as I had not seen any of them before in the wild, hope you enjoy them too.
Signature: Black Zarak

Margined Carrion Beetle

Margined Carrion Beetle

Dear Black Zarak,
Thank you for this wonderful study in diversity.  How exciting to have found all three in the proximity of a single corpse.  We wish you had also sent a photo of the group.  We agree with your identifications.  The first does indeed look like the Margined Carrion Beetle,
Oiceoptoma noveboracense, that is pictured on BugGuide which states:  “Similar, but smaller than the more common Necrophila americana. In this species the black mark on the pronotum extends to the base. Edges of pronotum tinged with yellow or orange.”

Northern Carrion Beetle

Northern Carrion Beetle

Your second individual does appear to be a Northern Carrion Beetle, Thanatophilus lapponicus, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  Interestingly, though BugGuide states the range as:  “Throughout Canada, Alaska, and northern part of United States. Southward in western states at higher elevations to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico. Also found in Eurasia,” all the BugGuide reports are from western states.  We could not locate any postings of Northern Carrion Beetles in our archives, so we believe this is a first for our site. 

The American Carrion Beetle, Necrophila americana, is the one species that is well represented on our site.  According to BugGuide:  “Diurnal, not found at lights. … Found on carrion and decaying fungi. Larvae eat carrion, larvae of flies and other carrion beetles. Eggs are laid singly on or near carrion. They prefer larger carrion, Milne (5) states ‘rat-sized or larger’. Larvae hatch in a few days, feed in or under carcass, and pupate in a nearby soil cell. Larvae may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed. Adults overwinter.”  We suppose the three species are active in spring in the northern climes when they hunt out animals that have died and frozen over the winter and begin decaying once they have thawed out.

American Carrion Beetle

American Carrion Beetle

I do actually have a couple pictures of them on the carcass, I’ll attach them to this. You can see the American beetle clearly and the abdomen of the Margined sticking out, but the Northern one was somewhere underneath and came crawling out later. I also got some really nice pictures of Six-Spotted Tiger Beetles chasing each other and mating on the same outing if you’d like to see those.

Carrion Beetles

Carrion Beetles

Thanks for sending the additional photos.  We had imagined numerous Carrion Beetles crawling about in the carcass.  By all means send the Tiger Beetle photos.  Please submit a new form at Ask What’s That Bug?

Whatever they were eating had been a pretty small animal to start with (perhaps a snake or mouse) so really I was surprised that even three beetles had managed to cram in/under it. I sent in the Tiger Beetle photos as well, hope you like them!

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination