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Margined Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus mariginatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Margined Burying Beetle

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Image Credit: Curtis G. from Roswell, NM
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A type of Sexton beetle, the Margined Burying Beetle works to break down decomposing animals to the benefit of everyone and everything.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The orange and black Margined Burying Beetle feeds on the carcasses of dead animals. Antennae are black with large orange spheres at the tip. These antennae are sensitive to the smell of carrion lead the beetle to it. This beetle even buries carcasses underground which aids in decomposing the tissue of the animal. It also removes the odor of rotting flesh from the air. The Margined Burying Beetle's whole existence is a benefit to the ecosystem as it cleans areas and cycles nutrients through its diet. They have their own predators, passing all of those nutrients to up the food chain.

Adult Margined Burying Beetles care for their young. A male guards the female, stationing himself outside while she goes underground to lay her fertilized eggs on or near a carcass that was buried. The parents then help the newly hatched larvae feed from the carrion, in a similar way to birds, until they can eat on their own.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Helpful insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Silphidae
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          Genus: Nicrophorus
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            Species: mariginatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Nicrophorus mariginatus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 20mm (0.51" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; black
Descriptors: checkered; banded; carrion; rotting; flying; helpful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 16.5mm
Hi: 20mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Margined Burying Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Margined Burying Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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