Hi I saw this beetle while taking a walk and thought id photograph it. It appears to have children on its back that it is guarding. I was just wonder what type of beetle it is and what its habits are?
This is a Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus. The creatures you perceived as children are mites. The mites are not parasitic on the beetle, but use it for transportation, a phenomenon known as phoresy. The mites climb on the beetle to be carried to the next dead creature the beetle encounters. The Burying Beetles often work in pairs burying animals after finding small dead rodents or birds, or even reptiles. Once the beetles have successfully buried the animal, eggs are laid and the carcass will provide food for the newly hatched larvae.