Subject: Beetle ID
Geographic location of the bug: Lake county, Ohio
Time: 09:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello! My young explorer found this mystery beetle and we would love to know more about it. Thank you for your help!
How you want your letter signed: Natalie
This is a Sexton Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus. Your individual has very few red spots, so it was easy to identify as Nicrophorus pustulatus on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Reported to be a brood parasite of other Nicrophorus. Also reported to parasitize the eggs of Black Rat Snakes, Elaphe obsoleta (Blouin-Demers & 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, N. 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).”