Currently viewing the category: "Carrion Beetles"
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Subject: Bug on mushrrom
Location: Southern Manitoba Canada
August 18, 2012 8:13 pm
What’s the bugs name, and what’s the mushroom name (if possible)? There was a bad odour associated with the bug and mushroom – if that helps with the identification. Thanks.
Signature: Gerry Kramer

American Carrion Beetles

Hi Gerry,
These are American Carrion Beetles,
Necrophila americana.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion” and “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.”  We are not certain if the odor was produced by the fungus rotting or if the mushroom had a bad odor itself.  Though most folks associate flowers with having a pleasant fragrance, there are plants like the Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum, that have a foul odor which attracts flies and other insects that feed on decay.  The same may be true of mushrooms.  The Corpse Flower has evolved so that the foul odor attracts insects that will pollinate it ensuring that it will produce offspring.  The Huntington Gardens in San Marino, CA is a great place to view the Corpse Flower when it blooms.  We do not recognize the mushroom, but perhaps a mycologist will be able to provide that information.

American Carrion Beetles


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Subject: Mouse eating bugs
Location: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
August 2, 2012 8:30 pm
It’s summer here, August 2nd, and I found these bugs outside in the evening devouring a dead mouse. They could fly, and occasionally they would fight each other. Also, it appeared as though they may have been carrying their babies on their back. They were incredibly active, especially when fighting with each other, any idea what they are?
Signature: -L

Burying Beetles eat mouse

Hi L,
These are Burying Beetles or Sexton Beetles in the genus
Nicrophorus, and Burying Beetles are best know for burying small dead animals and guarding the corpse while their larvae develop in the putrefying flesh.  It appears this mouse is on concrete, and the Burying Beetles are unable to bury it on site and it is too heavy for them to transport.  The babies you mentioned are most like Phoretic Mites which use the Burying Beetles’ ability to fly to hitchhike to a new food source.  The mites will feed on maggots and fly eggs so this is a symbiotic relationship between the Burying Beetles and the Phoretic Mites.  The Mites get transportation and the Bury Beetles benefit because there is more rotting flesh for their young, ensuring that more larvae will have enough food to mature and perpetuate the next generation.  You can get additional information on Burying Beetles on BugGuide.

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Insect larvae ID
Location: Peak District…. Northern England
May 1, 2012 7:32 am
Can you please ID these ”mini beasts” found 30/4/12 in the North of England (the Peak District) They are feeding on the remains of a Brown Hare (Lepus capensis) The time was mid afternoon, the weather was fine and sunny after several days of heavy rain.
Thanks and regards Joe Lyman
Signature: Joe Lyman

Carrion Beetle Larvae

Hi Joe,
These are Carrion Beetle Larvae.  We are having trouble locating a photo from the UK that supports our identification, however, we did locate some nice line art, including this image from the Insects and Other Arthropods website and this image from Clipart.  The American Carrion Beetle,
Necropila americana, is a North American species that can be found on BugGuide.  Carrion Beetles perform an important function by contributing to the decomposition of dead animals.  This is an awesome photograph.

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cool bug
Location: Central Iowa
April 29, 2012 7:24 pm
Hey! My son spotted this ”June-Bug” looking bug on our patio here in Central Iowa. I picked it up & it froze up & played dead. It left a pretty potent stench on my fingers…like manure. Can you help me out on the name? I called it ”April”.
Signature: Melissa & Blaedyn

Burying Beetle

Hi Melissa & Blaedyn,
You have discovered a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus.  With the exception of social insects that form an organized colony like Ants, Bees, Wasps and Termites, Burying Beetles exhibit among the greatest parental care in the insect world.  A pair of Burying Beetles will work together to locate and bury a small animal carcass, like that of a bird, mouse or other small vertebrate.  They then guard the carcass with the eggs and developing larvae and they even feed their brood regurgitated carrion.  You may read more about Burying Beetles on BugGuide.

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Smelly Beetle ??
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
August 25, 2011 4:53 pm
Hello Bugman!
A co-worker of mine found this beetle in his boot. Never seen one like this before up here. He had a bad smell to him. I caught him in a cup and took him home, then release him on a Sunflower in the yard and took some pictures. I hope my pictures are clear enough to help!
Maybe you can help Identify him for me ? :)
Signature: -Kla

Sexton Beetle

Dear Kayla,
This is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus.  A sexton, a somewhat obsolete profession, was a church custodian who cared for the church grounds, including the cemetery, and who was frequently charged with digging graves.  Sexton Beetles bury small dead animals that the beetle larvae feed upon.  Sometimes a pair of Burying Beetles will guard a small animal corpse after burying it, guarding it against other carrion feeders and caring for the young in the process.  Perhaps the Burying Beetle your co-worker encountered had just finished burying a corpse.  You can compare your individual to the species of Burying Beetles that are represented on BugGuide

Thank you so much Daniel.  Its nice to finally know what he is.
thanks again.

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Japanese Bugs
Location: NE Japan
July 27, 2011 6:29 am
Hi Bugman
I’ve just come back from a two week trip in Japan and as well as seeing some amazing shrines and temples I saw some pretty awesome bug life that being resident in the UK where very alien to me (like the Giant Japanese Hornet for example and a (sadly dead) Japanese Rhinoceros beetle). I’ve managed to identify most of my pics of the critters I saw but was hoping you might be able to help out with the three pics below.
Love you website by the way
Signature: Michael

Carrion Beetle Larva

Hi Michael,
This is a larva, and they can often be extremely difficult to identify to the species level.  We believe this is a Carrion Beetle Larva from the family Silphidae.  Though it is a different species, it does look rather similar to this American Carrion Beetle Larva from BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination