Currently viewing the category: "Carrion Beetles"
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Subject: Beetle with some tag-alongs in Bay Area California
Location: Palo Alto, California
January 12, 2017 5:54 pm
Hi,
I stumbled on this site while trying to identify a beetle that wandered into our apartment a few days ago on a cold, rainy evening. It’s black and shiny, and at first I thought it had some moss on its back, so I put it in a jar to look at it closer and show my 2-year-old son who loves bugs and beetles. The next morning I discovered all of the little brown dots were not moss, and were indeed animals which were crawling all over the beetle! I put a leaf in which seems to be satisfying both the beetle and the tag-alongs (aphids?).
Needless to say, I’m curious what beetle this is and why it’d be carrying around dozens of smaller bugs.
Signature: Beetle Dad

Burying Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Dear Beetle Dad,
This is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus.  Most Burying Beetles are black with orange markings, so we believe your all black individual is the Black Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus nigrita based on images posted to BugGuide where the range is listed as”Pacific US states & so. BC.”  The small creatures are Phoretic Mites which use the more mobile Burying Beetle for transportation. 

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Subject: What’s this beetle?
Location: Rocky Moutains (8,000 ft)
September 22, 2016 11:41 am
Moved a board this spring that was near a creek in Estes Park, CO and found this beetle underneath it. The soil was moist and it kept trying to crawl under debris around it. The picture is pretty good I think and I am curious as to what it is and if I should avoid them.
Thanks!
Signature: Ian Taylor

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Dear Ian,
We have determined that because of the “dense yellow hair on pronotum” which BugGuide refers to as  “distinctive,” your Sexton Beetle is a Tomentose Burying Beetle,
Nicrophorus tomentosus.  Though most Sexton Beetles work in pairs to bury small, dead animals like mice or birds after laying eggs upon the carcass, according to BugGuide:  “unlike other nearctic Nicrophorus, adults do not bury the carcass but make a shallow pit and cover the carcass with litter.”  If you look closely at the head of your beetle, you will see that it is carrying a Phoretic Mite.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you identify this beetle?
Location: East Windsor, CT
September 18, 2016 1:17 pm
Hello,
A beetle flew in my drivers side window & struck me in the forehead. After safety pulling over I found between my seat a interesting bug I’d not seen before. It looks like a cross between a bumble bee & beetle. Orange and black back curtly Anita, about the size of a Quarter. I snapped some pictures, could you help me identify it?
Signature: Michael Liebler

Tomentose Burying Beetle and Mite

Tomentose Burying Beetle and Phoretic Mite

Dear Michael,
This is a Tomentose Burying Beetle,
Nicrophorus tomentosus, a species that can be distinguished from other Sexton Beetles in the same genus, according to BugGuide, by “dense yellow hair on pronotum distinctive,” a trait that adds to its resemblance to a Bumble Bee.  Burying Beetles or Sexton Beetles get their common name because they locate bodies of dead animals like mice, birds and even snakes which they bury after laying eggs on them.  According to BugGuide:  “Remarkable parental care: adults bury a small carcass, lay eggs in it, and stay to feed the young on regurgitated carrion.”  If you look closely at the image with the linoleum-like background, you can see a Phoretic Mite crawling on the pronotum.  Phoretic Mites have symbiotic relationships with Sexton Beetles, often covering them in great numbers for the sole purpose of hitching a ride to a prospective food source.  According to BugGuide:  “Phoretic mites are invariably present on Nicrophorus adults and may be involved in a symbiotic relationship with the beetles. These mites feed on any fly eggs that may be in the surrounding soil or on the carcass and which would otherwise hatch into maggots, competing (with Nicrophorus larvae) for the carrion (Springett 1968). In turn, the mites receive transportation to and from food sources that would otherwise be inaccessible to them, because carcasses are randomly distributed in place and time, and are a highly unpredictable resource. Four families of mites occur on the beetles: Parasitidae, Anoetidae, Uropodidae, and Macrochelidae. Poecilochirus mites (Parasitidae) form the largest and most active group of mites on the adult beetles….”

Tomentose Burying Beetle

Tomentose Burying Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bumblebee Mimic?
Location: Voorhees, NJ
July 22, 2016 7:40 pm
Found this bug flying around at dusk, and in flight it looked very much like a bumblebee.
It’s nearly an inch in length (brick for scale) and at rest looks like a beetle or shield bug.
My Google skills fail to turn anything up.
Found in Voorhees, NJ (near Wharton State Forest) on July 22nd, 2016 at about 7:40pm EST, above a bed of vinca/periwinkles. No flowering shrubs in the vicinity, but I did have a smelly non-toxic fly trap around the corner.
Signature: Itadaki Mouse

American Carrion Beetle

American Carrion Beetle

Dear Itakaki,
This is an American Carrion Beetle, and according to BugGuide:  “Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion; larvae eat carrion, maggots, and beetle larvae, may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed” and the habitat is listed as “moist woods on carrion, fungus, sapping tree wounds(2); prefer larger carrion, ‘rat-sized or larger.'”  We have images in our archive of American Carrion Beetles on carrion and American Carrion Beetles on decaying fungus.

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Subject: Yellow/Black Bug
Location: Central Virginia
July 5, 2016 4:54 pm
What’s this bug?
Signature: Rebecca

American Carrion Beetle

American Carrion Beetle

Dear Rebecca,
This is one of the most beautiful images we have ever received of an American Carrion Beetle,
Necrophila americana, a species that lays its eggs on the putrefying flesh of dead creatures.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion; larvae eat carrion, maggots, and beetle larvae, may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed.”

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Subject: Kezar Lake found bug
Location: New Hampshire
June 29, 2016 7:07 am
Found this bug late last night in our summer house, what is this bug? Is it a Burying Beatle?
Signature: Keazer lake found bug

Possibly Roundneck Sexton Beetle

Possibly Roundneck Sexton Beetle

We needed to double check the spelling of Kezar Lake as you have submitted two different spellings.  You are correct that this is a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, and we don’t always feel comfortable attempting a species identification.  We believe your individual is a Roundneck Sexton Beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis, based on images and this description from BugGuide:  “The orange clubbed antennae along with the more circular posterior spots make this one fairly easy to ID (G.A. Hanley, 8/9/2008). Long elytral setae are characteristic, and usually diagnostic, for this species, but they are sometimes worn away.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination