beetle with offspring?
Hi There. We found this creature in our house one evening. It had small, moving, red creatures(?) on it’s back which I thought might be offspring or parasites. I’ve never seen this type of bug before. Can you help? We live in Santa Barbara, CA. Thanks for your help.
This is a Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus. Here is a quote from a posting Eric Eaton made to Bugguide: “The mites are phoretic, meaning they are only using the beetle as transportation. This is a carrion beetle (Nicrophorus sp.), and once it arrives at a carcass, the mites will disembark (de-beetle?), and go about feeding on the eggs of blow flies, the beetle’s major competition for the corpse. So, the mites actually benefit the beetle.”
Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Mites on burying beetles. These are as you indicate, phoretic mites in the family Parasitidae, genus Poecilochirus. Species in this genus all have obligate relationships with silphid beetles. Although they will feed on fly eggs, they also feed from the vertebrate carrion as well.