Subject: My dog stayed far away!
Location: Whitehorse Yukon Canada
August 10, 2015 10:58 am
Hi there bugman. What the heck is this bug? He came crawling onto the deck of our cabin at around midnight. My dog saw it and pounced but then quickly spit it out and started salivating all over the place. She did not like the taste I guess…lucky for the beetle!
We are in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada. It was mild weather out and had just turned dark when this little trooper made his appearance.
Any info would be great. Thanks!
Signature: Almost Beetlejuice
Dear Almost Beetlejuice,
This is a Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus. Their common name is derived from the manner in which they provide for their young. Males and females work together to bury small dead animals, and then they stay close to guard their larvae while they feed on both the putrefying flesh. According to BugGuide, they exhibit “Remarkable parental care: adults bury a small carcass, lay eggs in it, and stay to feed the young on regurgitated carrion.” One possible species is Nicrophorus defodiens which according to BugGuide is found in the northern portions of the Pacific Northwest.
Update: August 21, 2015
While researching a different genus of Carrion Beetle, we found this statement on BugGuide: “Has chemical defenses, and smells foul, like all carrion beetles and their larvae.” That probably explains your dog’s reaction.