Beetles devouring toad
Location: Western North Carolina
July 30, 2010 9:55 pm
I found this congregation of beetles around and on a deceased toad, as far as I know they’re some sort of carrion beetle. I’d never seen such a gathering before!
Your identification is correct. These are American Carrion Beetles, Necrophila americana (see BugGuide) and it appears as though there are several mating pairs in your photo. According to BugGuide: “Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion. Life Cycle Diurnal, not found at lights (but see comments here). Found on carrion and decaying fungi. Larvae eat carrion, larvae of flies and other carrion beetles. Eggs are laid singly on or near carrion. They prefer larger carrion, Milne (4) states “rat-sized or larger”. Larvae hatch in a few days, feed in or under carcass, and pupate in a nearby soil cell. Larvae may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed. Adults overwinter.“