American Burying Beetle

Nicrophorus americanus

The American burying beetle makes a living out of eating the dead. A male and female find and bury a small dead animal, perhaps a rodent carcass. Reproduction occurs during summer months and eggs laid nearby soon hatch into grubs (larvae) which feed on the carrion for about a week. Both the male and female help care for the larvae. Next the larvae pupate and emerge as young adults a couple months later. 

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This beetle is distinctive with its bright orange-red and black body. Orange-red areas can be found on both wings, the area between head and body, and on the tips of each antenna. The American burying beetle can fly over a mile at night.

Fact File

Species @ Risk Image
Species Survival Plan Image
where to see themWhere to see them: World of the Insect
lengthLength: Up to 1.5 in
lifespanLifespan: 1 yr
ecological roleEcological Role: Predator, scavenger, decomposer
habitatHabitat: Grassland and forest
dietDiet: Live insects and carrion
exclamationRisk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Critically endangered)