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Burying Beetles (Nicrophorus)

The burying beetles are the most well-known beetles in their family, Silphidae. As their name indicates, they bury carcasses of birds and rodents both for food and to raise their larvae.

Burying Beetle

List of Species Belonging to this Genus

  • American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)
  • Margined Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus marginatus)
  • Tomentose Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus tomentosus)
  • Nicrophorus mexicanus
  • Nicrophorus sepulchralis
  • Nicrophorus antennatus
  • Nicrophorus germanicus
  • Nicrophorus apo
  • Nicrophorus argutor
  • Nicrophorus basalis
  • Nicrophorus carolina
  • Nicrophorus charon
  • Nicrophorus pustulatus
  • Nicrophorus chilensis
  • Nicrophorus concolor
  • Nicrophorus confusus
  • Nicrophorus dauricus
  • Nicrophorus defodiens
  • Nicrophorus didymus
  • Nicrophorus distinctus
  • Nicrophorus efferens
  • Nicrophorus encaustus
  • Nicrophorus guttula
  • Nicrophorus heurni
  • Nicrophorus hispaniola
  • Nicrophorus humator
  • Nicrophorus hybridus
  • Nicrophorus insignis
  • Nicrophorus insularis
  • Nicrophorus interruptus
  • Nicrophorus investigator
  • Nicrophorus japonicus
  • Nicrophorus kieticus
  • Nicrophorus lunatus
  • Nicrophorus maculifrons
  • Nicrophorus mongolicus
  • Nicrophorus montivagus
  • Nicrophorus morio
  • Nicrophorus nepalensis
  • Nicrophorus nigricornis
  • Nicrophorus nigrita
  • Nicrophorus oberthuri
  • Nicrophorus obscurus
  • Nicrophorus olidus
  • Nicrophorus orbicollis
  • Nicrophorus podagricus
  • Nicrophorus przewalskii
  • Nicrophorus quadraticollis
  • Nicrophorus quadrimaculatus
  • Nicrophorus quadripunctatus
  • Nicrophorus reichardti
  • Nicrophorus reticulatus
  • Nicrophorus satanas
  • Nicrophorus sausai
  • Nicrophorus sayi
  • Nicrophorus schawalleri
  • Nicrophorus scrutator
  • Nicrophorus semenowi
  • Nicrophorus sepultor
  • Nicrophorus sinensis
  • Nicrophorus smefarka
  • Nicrophorus tenuipes
  • Nicrophorus trumboi
  • Nicrophorus ussuriensis
  • Nicrophorus validus
  • Nicrophorus vespillo
  • Nicrophorus vespilloides
  • Nicrophorus vestigator
  • Nicrophorus chryseus 
  • Nicrophorus funerarius 
  • Nicrophorus laethius 
Nicrophorus

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 1.0-1.4 inches (2.5-3.5 cm)

Color: They are black, with red markings on their elytra. Most beetles of this genus appear black with markings on red on their elytra.

Other Characteristic Features: There are large two antennae that look like clubs and are equipped with receptors that can detect carcasses from great distances.

Carrion Beetle

Larva

The larva is white with orange stripes on each segment. After hatching, they move into the carrion buried underground by their parents.

Unlike most other insects burying beetles tend to rear their young by feeding them, a trait barely seen in other beetle genera. However, at the same time they practice infanticide and kill off some of their offspring at an early stage to ensure the rest get proper nutrition.

Burying Beetle Larvae

Pupa

Once their source of carrion has depleted, the larvae begin to pupate. The parents leave them during this period. The tiny white larvae eventually develop into a full-grown beetle.

Burying Beetle Pupa

Egg

Both parents look for a suitable source of carrion and bury it underground. They then mate, after which the female lays the eggs near the crypt.

Quick Facts

Other namesSexton beetles, carrion beetles
Lifespan1 year
DistributionWorldwide
HabitatFields, forests, and grasslands
PredatorsCrows, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and skunks
Seasons activeSummer
HostsDetritus
Diet of adultsCarrion, feces, rotting fruit, and maggots
Sexton Beetle

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

They do not cause enough identifiable damage, but are known to aggregate if carrion is found nearby.

Burying Beetle Picture

Did You Know

  • These beetles have a symbiotic relationship with red mites. The mites travel on the back of the burying beetle and eat the eggs of the maggots, who are potential competition to their larvae.
  • In the older texts, the genus name was sometimes misspelled as Necrophorus, which isn’t considered valid by the ICZN.

Image Source: amazonaws.com, observation.org, scx2.b-cdn.net, m.psecn.photoshelter.com images.immediate.co.uk, depositphotos.com, uwm.edu,

The burying beetles are the most well-known beetles in their family, Silphidae. As their name indicates, they bury carcasses of birds and rodents both for food and to raise their larvae.

Burying Beetle

List of Species Belonging to this Genus

  • American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)
  • Margined Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus marginatus)
  • Tomentose Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus tomentosus)
  • Nicrophorus mexicanus
  • Nicrophorus sepulchralis
  • Nicrophorus antennatus
  • Nicrophorus germanicus
  • Nicrophorus apo
  • Nicrophorus argutor
  • Nicrophorus basalis
  • Nicrophorus carolina
  • Nicrophorus charon
  • Nicrophorus pustulatus
  • Nicrophorus chilensis
  • Nicrophorus concolor
  • Nicrophorus confusus
  • Nicrophorus dauricus
  • Nicrophorus defodiens
  • Nicrophorus didymus
  • Nicrophorus distinctus
  • Nicrophorus efferens
  • Nicrophorus encaustus
  • Nicrophorus guttula
  • Nicrophorus heurni
  • Nicrophorus hispaniola
  • Nicrophorus humator
  • Nicrophorus hybridus
  • Nicrophorus insignis
  • Nicrophorus insularis
  • Nicrophorus interruptus
  • Nicrophorus investigator
  • Nicrophorus japonicus
  • Nicrophorus kieticus
  • Nicrophorus lunatus
  • Nicrophorus maculifrons
  • Nicrophorus mongolicus
  • Nicrophorus montivagus
  • Nicrophorus morio
  • Nicrophorus nepalensis
  • Nicrophorus nigricornis
  • Nicrophorus nigrita
  • Nicrophorus oberthuri
  • Nicrophorus obscurus
  • Nicrophorus olidus
  • Nicrophorus orbicollis
  • Nicrophorus podagricus
  • Nicrophorus przewalskii
  • Nicrophorus quadraticollis
  • Nicrophorus quadrimaculatus
  • Nicrophorus quadripunctatus
  • Nicrophorus reichardti
  • Nicrophorus reticulatus
  • Nicrophorus satanas
  • Nicrophorus sausai
  • Nicrophorus sayi
  • Nicrophorus schawalleri
  • Nicrophorus scrutator
  • Nicrophorus semenowi
  • Nicrophorus sepultor
  • Nicrophorus sinensis
  • Nicrophorus smefarka
  • Nicrophorus tenuipes
  • Nicrophorus trumboi
  • Nicrophorus ussuriensis
  • Nicrophorus validus
  • Nicrophorus vespillo
  • Nicrophorus vespilloides
  • Nicrophorus vestigator
  • Nicrophorus chryseus 
  • Nicrophorus funerarius 
  • Nicrophorus laethius 
Nicrophorus

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 1.0-1.4 inches (2.5-3.5 cm)

Color: They are black, with red markings on their elytra. Most beetles of this genus appear black with markings on red on their elytra.

Other Characteristic Features: There are large two antennae that look like clubs and are equipped with receptors that can detect carcasses from great distances.

Carrion Beetle

Larva

The larva is white with orange stripes on each segment. After hatching, they move into the carrion buried underground by their parents.

Unlike most other insects burying beetles tend to rear their young by feeding them, a trait barely seen in other beetle genera. However, at the same time they practice infanticide and kill off some of their offspring at an early stage to ensure the rest get proper nutrition.

Burying Beetle Larvae

Pupa

Once their source of carrion has depleted, the larvae begin to pupate. The parents leave them during this period. The tiny white larvae eventually develop into a full-grown beetle.

Burying Beetle Pupa

Egg

Both parents look for a suitable source of carrion and bury it underground. They then mate, after which the female lays the eggs near the crypt.

Quick Facts

Other namesSexton beetles, carrion beetles
Lifespan1 year
DistributionWorldwide
HabitatFields, forests, and grasslands
PredatorsCrows, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and skunks
Seasons activeSummer
HostsDetritus
Diet of adultsCarrion, feces, rotting fruit, and maggots
Sexton Beetle

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

They do not cause enough identifiable damage, but are known to aggregate if carrion is found nearby.

Burying Beetle Picture

Did You Know

  • These beetles have a symbiotic relationship with red mites. The mites travel on the back of the burying beetle and eat the eggs of the maggots, who are potential competition to their larvae.
  • In the older texts, the genus name was sometimes misspelled as Necrophorus, which isn’t considered valid by the ICZN.

Image Source: amazonaws.com, observation.org, scx2.b-cdn.net, m.psecn.photoshelter.com images.immediate.co.uk, depositphotos.com, uwm.edu,

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