Tomentose Burying Beetle with hitch-hiking Mites (Phoresy)

Photos of Burying Beetle with Mites
Hey there,
I’m from Nova Scotia and took a couple of photos of this burrying beetle back in late August on the Eastern Shore in Jeddore. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time (looked like an unusual bee to me) but did recognize that it seemed odd and worth photographing. I posted these photos on a local message board this evening asking if anyone happened to see this insect before and someone came back with a link to your site saying they thought it resembled the Burying Beetle. After a quick look myself, I concured. I was also told that apparently, they’re rare in this region. Thought you might appreciate the photos for your site. Sincerely,
Elizabeth Gaudreau, Nova Scotia

Hi Elizabeth,
The beetle is a Tomentose Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus, and the Mites are hitching a ride to a new food source, a phenomenon known as Phoresy. The Mites feed on fly eggs and maggots, and as flies are competitors for carrion, having the mites feeding on the maggots is beneficial to the young Burying Beetles as it leaves more food for them.

1 thought on “Tomentose Burying Beetle with hitch-hiking Mites (Phoresy)”

  1. I trapped one of these bugs in a jar (with breathing holes!) in my house just today. It is not the first time as that was two years ago right around the same time of year. I did not seem to have one last year though. Two years ago I searched high and low to put a name to such a, sorry, but disgusting bug! Now thanks to you I have… which puts my mind at ease actually. My question is should I be concerned that one of these is in my home? Do they bite? How do I get rid of it? I have read that they are rare/endangered and this may seem to be stupid question but is there someone I should contact about it?
    Thanks so much for your time and YOUR love of bugs!
    Elkhorn, WI


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