Who is this death muncher?
October 24, 2009
I’ve seen these guys a couple of times, the first time I ever saw them was among other bugs voraciously consuming a mole corpse who’s death had been basking in the summer heat for at least two days. They were the dominant insect in and on that corpse. His thorax reminds me Roman muscle armor… What is this odd little guy?
Eric, The Wild Man
willamette valley, along the columbia river. Oregon
This is one of the Burying Beetles in the genus Nicrophorus that are known as Sexton Beetles. We expect it is the highly variable Nicrophorus defodiens. BugGuide has a nice array of images with some individuals possessing bold spotting, and others with subtle spotting like your specimen. Burying Beetles often work in pairs, burying small dead creatures, laying eggs on the carcass.