Pustulated Carrion Beetle

A black beetle with red dots at rear
Location:  44⁰ 18’30”N 68⁰54’12’W = Islesboro
August 30, 2010 1:07 am
The cat was harassing this beetle? in my bedroom at +/- 2AM. That’s all. Before I free it, I’d like to know it’s name, rank, and serial number.
Sukey Love

Pustulated Carrion Beetle

Hi Sukey,
This is a Carrion Beetle known as the Pustulated Carrion Beetle,
Nicrophorus pustulatus.  Carrion Beetles in the genus Nicrophorus are also known as Sexton Beetles.  Adults, often working in pairs, will bury small dead vertebrates like rodents or birds and lay eggs, guarding the brood until the young mature.  BugGuide provides this fascinating information:  “Reported to be a brood parasite of other Nicrophorus (1). Also reported to parasitize the eggs of Black Rat Snakes, Elaphe obsoleta (Blouin-Demers and Weatherhead, 2000; Trumbo, 2009). The beetle larvae destroy the snake eggs, thus, the beetle would qualify as a parasitoid of the snake, a relationship usually seen only among invertebrates. In the wild, Nicrophorus pustulatus is not known to exhibit the usual carcass-burying behavior of other members of its genus, though it will display some of this behavior in captivity. There is suspicion, too, that it may parasitize eggs of other reptiles, and, perhaps, birds (Trumbo, 2009).

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

2 thoughts on “Pustulated Carrion Beetle”

    • Our best guess since Carrion Beetles feed on small dead animals is that there might be something dead, like a rat, in the walls.


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