November 18, 2009
Found this bug outside my house this summer(sept23) in schreiber, ontario canada. I also have video i am willing to send ( you can see the small bugs/spiders moving around). Is this the bugs babies or are they killing it?!?!
Northern ontario

Sexton Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Sexton Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Hi Monica,
The beetle is a Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetles.  The hitchhikers are Phoretic Mites.  Amazingly, this is a mutually advantageous situation.  Sexton Beetles bury small dead animals and lay eggs on the corpses and the beetle larvae feed on the putrefying meat.  Rotting flesh also attracts flies that lay eggs that hatch into maggots that compete with the beetle larvae for food.  The Mites hitch a ride on the beetle, since mites cannot fly, an act known as phoresy.  The mites eat the maggots, ensuring there will be more food for the beetle larvae.  We have seen images of Sexton Beetles covered in so many Phoretic Mites that it seemed impossible that they could fly.

2 Responses to Sexton Beetle covered in Phoretic Mites

  1. mbhallam says:

    My daughter spotted this exact beetle, covered with mites, on the outside of our windowsill. I was thrilled to find this webpage. To our complete amazement, the beetle easily flew off, passengers and all. Thanks very much for the solving the mystery.
    August 15, 2010
    Fairbanks, Alaska

  2. Hayley Webster says:

    I have just found this beetle in my kitchen (England,UK) covered in these mites luckily I got in there before my dog could eat it. I thought they were babies. This is so gross… lol

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