Burying beetles

On a walk last sunday we found a freshly dead juvenile blackbird on a public footpath in Llanwrthwl. I picked it up to move it and the ground beneath it crawled with insects. This included a couple of large black beetles with very distinctive bright orange markings. The beetles were around 2cm long and rapidly disappeared into a hole. Ive never seen anything like them before. My collins guide points to the Nicrophorus family – otherwise known as Sexton Beetles. Theses specialise in digging pits or holes beneath the corpse of a dead bird or mammal, then dragging the corpse into the hole. It then lays its eggs in the corpse and the new larvae feed off it, attended to by the adults. Nice!

Seems there are 3 potential species – investigator, vespilloides and vespillo. None seem particularly common to this area according to the NBN website, but perhaps they are under recorded. anyone else seen one?

http://www.luath.co.uk/theburyingbeetle/realburyingbeetle.htm

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2 Responses to Burying beetles

  1. carlton parry says:

    Although outside your area, I have had sexton beetles in my garden in Howey, occasionally in the moth trap.

  2. steeejones says:

    I will mention them to Phil Ward next time I see him. They were too quick to get a photo…

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