Currently viewing the category: "Carrion Beetles"

neet black beetle
May 13, 2010
This handsome guy was hiding under some matted grass in my back yard. He is about the size of a finger nail and can move quickly when he wants too. When he got tired of shying away from my camera he curled into a defensive posture, image included.
My question is what kind of beetle is this and what can you tell me about him. Thank you for your site and your time.
Beau bugs
north Idaho U.S.A.

Unknown Carrion Beetle

Dear Beau bugs,
WE believe, but we are not certain, that this is a Carrion Beetle in the Family Silphidae.  We cannot find a match on BugGuide, so we have decided to contact Eric Eaton directly.  We really love the insect behavior photo you have provided.  That is one limber beetle.

Unknown Carrion Beetle

Eric Eaton confirms the Carrion Beetle identification
Hi, Daniel!  Hope you had a great trip to see mom for Mother’s Day 🙂
Yes, the carrion beetle is just that, and probably Heterosilpha ramosa given the Pacific Northwest location.  It is pretty common there.
Eric

COVERED IN OTHER BUGS OR SPIDERS!!!!
November 18, 2009
Found this bug outside my house this summer(sept23) in schreiber, ontario canada. I also have video i am willing to send ( you can see the small bugs/spiders moving around). Is this the bugs babies or are they killing it?!?!
Monica
Northern ontario

Sexton Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Sexton Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Hi Monica,
The beetle is a Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetles.  The hitchhikers are Phoretic Mites.  Amazingly, this is a mutually advantageous situation.  Sexton Beetles bury small dead animals and lay eggs on the corpses and the beetle larvae feed on the putrefying meat.  Rotting flesh also attracts flies that lay eggs that hatch into maggots that compete with the beetle larvae for food.  The Mites hitch a ride on the beetle, since mites cannot fly, an act known as phoresy.  The mites eat the maggots, ensuring there will be more food for the beetle larvae.  We have seen images of Sexton Beetles covered in so many Phoretic Mites that it seemed impossible that they could fly.

larvae on dead mole
October 29, 2009
These larvae were found on a dead mole that had been under a wheelbarrow about a month (October 4-October 27, 2009 in rural Central Missouri). I have a group of children who routinely explore the woods in this area and when we find a dead creature we place it under the wheelbarrow to watch the decay process. We have not encountered these worm like creatures before.
Millersburg Preschool
Rural Central Missouri

Sexton Beetle Larvae eating a dead mole

Sexton Beetle Larvae eating a dead mole

Dear Millersburg Preschool,
Though we write about them often, this is the first photo we have ever received of the larvae of a Sexton Beetle, one of the Burying Beetles in the genus Nicrophorus.  We found a photo on BugGuide of the larvae of the endangered American Burying Beetle that is very close to your image.  We cannot say for certain exactly what species in the genus Nicrophorus your larvae will become, but we are somewhat certain they are not the rare American Burying Beetle.  A pair of Sexton Beetles will work burying the corpse of a small rodent or bird and then lay eggs.  The adults often stay with the developing larvae and care for them.

Thank you for your quick response!  The children will be so excited to know this!

Who is this death muncher?
October 24, 2009
I’ve seen these guys a couple of times, the first time I ever saw them was among other bugs voraciously consuming a mole corpse who’s death had been basking in the summer heat for at least two days. They were the dominant insect in and on that corpse. His thorax reminds me Roman muscle armor… What is this odd little guy?
Eric, The Wild Man
willamette valley, along the columbia river. Oregon

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

Hi Eric,
This is one of the Burying Beetles in the genus Nicrophorus that are known as Sexton Beetles.  We expect it is the highly variable Nicrophorus defodiens.  BugGuide has a nice array of images with some individuals possessing bold spotting, and others with subtle spotting like your specimen.  Burying Beetles often work in pairs, burying small dead creatures, laying eggs on the carcass.

Black beetle with large orange spots
October 9, 2009
Date: 8Oct09
Found beetle wandering around the lawn near cedar trees on damp dreary day. Took pictures and when sun warmed the bug, he flew away. Pictures show bug held by pine needle and with one wing unfolding.
Size: 2 cm long
Peter
46° 12.496’N; 79° 29.539’W

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

Hi Peter,
This is a Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus, possibly Nicrophorus orbicollis.  Sexton Beetles are sometimes called Burying Beetles.

black and yellow bugs
August 13, 2009
I saw these guys munching on some strange mushroom-like growth that appeared on the edge of the woods. The fungi and the bugs seemed to have appeared overnight. The bugs were quick but did not leave the mushroom even when I harassed them with my close contact. What are they?
Linda
southcentral Kentucky

Carrion Beetles
Carrion Beetles

Dear Linda,
These are American Carrion Beetles, Necrophila americana.  Both adults and larvae consume carrion and the maggots that are attracted to the rotting flesh, but we have received other reports associating them with mushrooms.