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Nature Blog Network
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
american carrion beetle
american carrion beetle (1)

American Carrion BeetleNecrophila americana – synonymous with Silpha americana.

Large beetle with mostly yellow pronotum. Distinctive black mark in the middle.

From Bug Guide:

Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion. Diurnal, not found at lights Found on carrion and decaying fungi. Larvae eat carrion, larvae of flies and other carrion beetles. Eggs are laid singly on or near carrion. They prefer larger carrion…”rat-sized or larger”. Larvae hatch in a few days, feed in or under carcass, and pupate in a nearby soil cell. Larvae may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed. Adults overwinter.

Photos taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D and a Sigma 70-300mm Lens on September 27, 2009, in Davenport, Iowa.

Posted by: Mike in: Insects,Iowa at 12:00 am

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  • http://mobugs.blogspot.com MObugs41

    Great shots Moe. These are such fascinating beetles. This summer I took a picture of a larvae of this species. I didn’t know what it was at the time, figured it out later.

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Thanks. I was surprised to find out it was a carrion beetle. Never seen one before.

  • http://dustyd-flyawayhome.blogspot.com/ sandy

    These are fantastic. I’ve never seen one up this close.

    • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

      This was the first time I had ever seen one, period.

  • Pingback: An Inordinate Fondness #1 – Inaugural Issue « An Inordinate Fondness()

  • http://natureisoutthere.blogspot.com Joy K.

    Fascinating beetle. The black mark looks like a robed figure at the right angle. Rather sinister.

    • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

      Haha I never noticed that!

  • http://www.birderslounge.com Amber Coakley

    I imagined a carrion beetle would be drab – not this one! Did you find him near…dead stuff?

    • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

      You know, he was just heading through the mulch in the rose garden and across the back patio. Didn’t see any dead stuff anywhere, and I looked.

  • http://www.birderslounge.com Amber Coakley

    Hmmm…I’ll bet it was the decaying fungi he was after then…makes sense, especially with roses.

  • Debbie

    My daughter and I just spotted a whole bunch of these in our small vegetable garden…. (at least six or seven) and they were crawling around on the chives or other vegetables… Our cats have killed several small rodents/chipmunks/shrews in the past week and we tend to throw the dead bodies we have found off into the woods not far from the garden…

    First time in five years we have lived here that we have seen these beetles… We don’t use any pesticide and let things grow organically… Would these be considered beneficial insects then? Curious in New Jersey….

  • Marc

    Thanks so much. I was wondering what the heck this very handsome bug was. And why it might be hanging around the bottom of my beehives. Since they throw out their dead, it makes sense. Just beautiful. And yes, I would consider them beneficial for sure. Thanks from Bee City USA, Asheville, NC.

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Thanks, Marc. Yeah, anything that helps dispose of the dead and decaying would be very beneficial, in my book.

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