Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(Dead) Flesh Eating Beetle

I was walking toward the front door of my cabin when I saw a rock move... like the rock was actually crawling. When I got closer I smelled the wiff of sick decay and saw a dead rotted mouse part way under the rock, pushing the rock to the side revealed a host of bugs - what I like to call the 'clean up crew'. One beetle really stood out and that is because it does not have the typical appearance of a dead animal eater... like maggots or other tiny parasites - instead it is a striking colorful beetle with orange and black wings and spiral shaped antenna.
The beetle is known as the American Burying Beetle, and is so large that on/inside this lil' dead mouse they almost made it look at though it was still alive, as if the mouse was their puppet -it's dead carcass squirmed and crawled.
Here are some cool science facts about this flesh eatin' beetle::::
**These carrion beetles eat dead animals—mice, birds or other creatures. Using organs located on the tips of their antennae, the beetles can smell dead animal carcasses from far away. They fly to the carrion, prepare it and lay eggs nearby. The carrion is later consumed by the beetles’ larvae.
**Federally listed as Endangered.
**It is one of the few beetles in which both parents care for the young. It is also useful to study its response to a changing ecosystem.
**These scavengers perform a valuable if not glorious service to the natural community by burying dead animals and then consuming them.
(Read More HERE.)
I have seen the Burying Beetle eat cat food, and rest on top old toad stool mushrooms too. :)