Sexton Beetle from UK

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Wolverhampton England
Date: 07/11/2019
Time: 08:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Saw this today in my garden, about 1 1/2 inches long, poor flyer.Thick short anennae, large plate at rear of head.
How you want your letter signed:  S.J.Harris

Sexton Beetle

Dear S.J. Harris,
This is a Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus, possibly Nicrophorus interruptus which is pictured on UK Beetles where it states:  “Nicrophorus species are unusual among beetles as they display biparental care of the larvae. They feed and breed on carrion and some species will breed communally on carrion too large to bury. Most species breed at small carcases of rodents and birds. Usually being attracted by the smell, a carcass will attract many individuals and the beetles will fight; males with males and females likewise, for the right to bury and breed on the food source. If a single male arrives at carrion it will wait for a partner to arrive; they attract females by releasing a pheromone from the tip of the abdomen. Females can bury a carcass and raise larvae alone from sperm stored from previous matings. The pair digs a depression beneath the carcass by pushing soil forward with their heads, if the soil is too hard they will move the carcass a short distance to more suitable substrate. Before burying the carcass they remove the fur or feathers and smear it with bactericide and fungicide to slow the decay and make it less attractive to other beetles and flies etc. Before burial the carcass is rolled into a ball. The removed fur etc. is used to line and reinforce the burial chamber, and the complete process of burial may take eight hours. Eggs are laid in the soil and the newly hatched larvae move onto the carcass. Adults feed on the carrion and regurgitate liquid food in response to begging behaviour from the larvae, this is thought to speed larval development and also to help preserve the food. If there are too many larvae the adults will selectively cull them at an early age. Adults protect and provision the larvae throughout their lives, eliminating competition from dipteral larvae etc. Full grown larvae move into the soil to pupate.”

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