My friend Joseph and I found this bug while chatting on the photo drive at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. At first I thought it was a stinker bug and Joseph tried to squish it to see if it would really stink, but in a lightig quick move I stopped him just before his foot hit the ground. Upon a second and closer inspection I found out it was not a stinker bug. Since we are photo and film students, we decided that we needed to have a picture taken of it, so we did. Now I am sending it to you for your web site.
Thanks a bunch.
I am so happy to hear you and Joseph are having fun while pursuing your studies. Like I told you in front of my class, this is one of the Burying Beetles. Further research on BugGuide leads me to believe it is Nicrophorus nigrita, the Black Burying Beetle. Burying Beetles often work in as a pair when they locate a small dead animal like a mouse or bird. The beetles dig a pit under the corpse until it is below the surface. Then they bury the critter and lay eggs. I also noticed some mites on your beetle when you presented it to me in that American Spirit cigarette pack. The mites hitch a ride on the beetle and feed on maggots that are attracted to the rotting flesh.