Burying Beetle with phoretic Mites

is this a burying beetle?
I saw this little guy while hiking near Wilmington, VT, but before i could get close enough for a better shot, he jumped up and flew away. i didn’t even notice the mites on his back until i got home and looked at the picture. is this a burying beetle? are they still endangered? thanks,

Hi Dan,
Yes, this is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, and the Phoretic Mites are just hitching a ride to a food source, often maggots that are feeding on the decaying carcass the Burying Beetle lays its eggs upon. The mites eat the maggots and leave more food for the beetle larvae. The Burying Beetle and the Phoretic Mites have a symbiotic relationship. We haven’t the time right now to give you an exact species on the Burying Beetle, but it is not the American Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus americanus, the endangered species. The American Burying Beetle is a large beetle with orange markings on the pronotum of the thorax.

Leave a Comment