Tomentose Burying Beetle

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.
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.

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