Hi, glad to find your site. You can answer at my home address I’ve sent a
copy to. I found an insect in my bathroom on the floor, took it outside. Found an identical one a few days later, this time in the sink. I did make a digital photo of it and was wondering if I may send it to you as an attachment. I believe this creature was about an inch long, looks like a beetle but the rear half of the body has no wings. If it lands upside down it cannot right itself. Its base color is black, with bright accents on the rear half of the body. Let me know about the pic and I’ll send it right off to you. Its mouth parts are easy to see. It was not touchy and had no problem with crawling right on to a piece of paper so I could take it outside.
You have found a Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus species, which is an extremely interesting beetle. The adults are capable of burying the entire carcass of a small animal, like a mouse, which they dig under until the body falls into the hole. It then is buried and becomes the food source of the larvae after the eggs have been deposited on the corpse. According to Borror, Triplehorn and Johnson in their book An Introduction to the Study of Insects, "These beetles are remarkably strong. A pair may move an animal as large as a rat several feet to get it to a suitable spot for burying." Adults and grubs both feed on carrion. Thank you for sending the images.
Thank you! That was very fast. Seems to be a very useful insect.
08/01/2005) We Stand Corrected
Nicrophorus picture On the first beetle page there is a picture dated 9/11/2003 of a Nicrophorus. You have identified it as Nicrophorus americana. N. americana has a reddish-orange pronotum (the upper part of the body between the head and the elytra. The specimen would also be small for americana if the coin in the upper left hand corner is a nickle (americana would be about twice this size). Brett Ratcliffe at the University of Nebraska might be able to tell you what species of Nicrophorus this is.