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  • American Carrion Beetle - (Necrophila americana)

    American Carrion Beetle - (Necrophila americana)

    The American Carrion Beetle helps to complete the circle of life, though their diet is usually something living things avoid.




    Staff Writer (8/12/2015): The American Carrion Beetle earns its name by eating decaying flesh in both larval and adult form. Sometimes adults may be seen eating fungi or rotten fruit in addition to maggots and other insect larvae that also feed on a decaying animals. Dried skin and muscle tissue is eaten as well. This unsavory role aids in returning nutrients from dead animals back into the ecological food web.

    This little beetle has the appearance of a bumble bee at first glance, especially in flight. It can smell carrion and flies to it, landing on it and quickly going to work. The yellowish pronotum ('shoulder' area) has a distinct black spot or mark on it.

    Adults prefer moist habitats and are active all summer and more so on warm days. They can be found in moist areas. Hiding is its preferred method of defense. Eggs are laid near a decaying animal in order to keep the newly hatched black larvae close to a food source. It takes about 3 months for larvae to mature into adulthood. One generation of beetles is born each year.


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    Details of the:
    American Carrion Beetle


    Category: Beetle
    Common name: American Carrion Beetle
    Scientific Name: Necrophila americana

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Silphidae
           Genus: Necrophila
            Species: americana

    Size (Adult, Length): 13mm to 22mm (0.51in to 0.87in)

    Identifying Colors: black, tan, ivory, yellow

    Additional Descriptors: spot, rough, mark, flying


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.