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Pustulated Carrion Beetle (Nicrophorus pustulatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Pustulated Carrion Beetle

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Attracted to more than carcasses, the Pustulated Carrion Beetle has been a parasite to reptile eggs, which is an unusual choice for an invertebrate.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Dead animals are typical food sources for a Carrion Beetle, but this species branches out a bit. Beetle larvae have parasitized the eggs of a particular snake, and there is a possibility that other reptile and avian eggs may be fodder for these little grubs as well.

Adults are black with two orange-red spots on the bottom of their wing coverings, and single ones on the upper part. Their short antennae appear to have orange balls on them when the tips are closed. The tips can flare open and reveal short, orange 'fingers'. The abdomen is longer than the wing coverings (elytra) so it gives the body a tapered end.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Flying insect icon
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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: pustulatus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Nicrophorus pustulatus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 22mm (0.55" to 0.86")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; red
Descriptors: red dots; two red spots; flared antennae; flying;

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 14mm (0.6in) and 22mm (0.9in)
Lo: 14mm
Md: 18mm
Hi: 22mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Pustulated Carrion 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 Pustulated Carrion Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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