What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

larva eats snail
June 25, 2010
On 22 June morning I went to shoot macro.
I made these interesting images of larvae feeding on a snail.
It looks like a grave-digger of the larva or grub of Firefly, but I’m not sure.
Please help to identify the larvae!
Dean Petkov
Bulgaria, Burgas

Possibly Silphid Larva Feeding upon Snail

Hello Dean,
We believe you are probably correct, though we would not rule out the larva of one of our favorite immigrant beetles in Los Angeles, a Rove Beetle known as a Devil’s Coach Horse, Ocypus olens.  Alas, the structure of antennae is not visible in your visually compellingly symmetrical photograph, a study in simplicity and circular composition, and the structure of antennae are frequently used to key out specimens into their taxonomic families, genera and even species.  The Devil’s Coach Horse is a magnificent beetle that we believe feeds upon snails.  A photo on Flickr identified as the larva of Ocypus olens does not look like your predator, so we would favor the Firefly hypothesis.  Perhaps we will get some assistance on this identification.
On a more personal level, my paternal grandfather came from Bulgaria, but his name (hence my name) was changed at Ellis Island.

Update
Mardikavana provided us with a comment indicating that this is not a Coach Horse Larva nor a Firefly Larva, and that it might be a Silphid Larva.  It has been our understanding that Silphid Beetles are not predators, but scavengers that feed upon carrion.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Bulgaria

4 Responses to Beetle Larva (Silphid possibly) feeding on a Snail in Bulgaria …

  1. mardikavana says:

    It certainly is not a Ocypus olens larvae and i also think that some kind of firefly larvae is also out of question. My best guess is that it is some kind of Silphidae larvae (definitely not Nicrophorus sp.) Well that’s the first family that comes to my mind:)

  2. mardikavana says:

    For example Ablattaria species larvae prey on snails. I think that Silpha atrata larvae should do the same but I couldn’t get any information about their food preferences.

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