Sunday, May 16, 2010

American Carrion Beetle

The American carrion beetle is an interesting and helpful insect. It gets its name from the fact that it eats and lays its eggs in carrion. Using the olfactory cells located in their antennae the carrion beetle can find a carcass with in hours of death at a distance of up to approximately a mile and a half. When it arrives at a carcass the beetle will feast on the dead flesh and it will also feast on any fly larva that have hatched. It will then mate and lay its eggs, eating the larva of any competing carrion beetle so that its offspring will survive. When the young hatch the carrion beetle larva will also eat any fly larva along with the decayed flesh, because they reduce the fly population they are beneficial to humans. Eventually the larva leave the carcass and bury themselves in the dirt, where they will pupate and emerge as an adult beetle. Since carrion beetles over winter as adults they can be seen early in the year. I photographed this carrion beetle at the Snake River Landing.


Kala said...

I had never heard of a carrion beetle. Thanks for the info.

Hootin' Anni said...

Phew....there for a minute, before I scrolled down to comment I thought you were gonna have a macro of a snake 'til I reread that it was Snake River Landing. Wow, that's a load off my heart...I hate snakes.

Wonderful capture, and such interesting write up of the beetle.

Mine's "Amaryllis by Morning". Do stop by to view if you get a chance.

Colleen said...

Interesting. I think I like anything that reduces the population of flys. Pretty shot.

"Lillagul" said...

We sure don´t have Carrion Beetles in Sweden :)
Great shot and thanks for the information about this little bug !

Jama said...

Interesting looking beetle!