Carrion Beetles Silphidae

Carrion Beetles – Silphidae
SIL-fih-dee

Also called Burying or Sexton Beetles. Fairly large beetles, usually 12 to 30 mm long, attracted to dead meat carcasses or carrion. Adults feed mostly on fly larvae present in the meat, but some feed on decaying fungi and rotting vegetation. Great parents, they bite off bits of flesh from the carrion and feed it to their young.

All have club-shaped antenna – the last 2 – 3 segments are widened, looking almost like a pine cone. Scarab beetles also have clubbed antenna. Each legs has 5 segments to the foot. Tarsal formula 5-5-5. Females have 6 abdomen segments, males have 7. Antenna 11 segments.

Most of the adults have rather large mites attached to their body. A mutualistic association, the mites drop off their hosts at the carrion and feed on eggs and larvae of the flies, assuring more flesh for the beetle’s young. When done, the mites hitch a ride on the adults to the next carrion.

According to Bosquet, 2013 there are 18 Carrion Beetles in Ontario:

Garden Carrion Beetle Heterosilpha ramosa – North of Lake Superior, Manitoba border.

Red-lined Carrion Beetle Necrodes surinamensis

American or Crusader Carrion Beetle Necrophila americana

Nicrophorus Burying Beetles:
N. americanus, N. defodiens, N. hybridus, N. investigator, N. marginatus, N. orbicollis, N. pustulatus, N. sayi, N. tomentosus and N. vespilloides.
Note: Only N. defodiens and N. vespilloides have entirely black antenna, all the others have some red on antenna clubs.

Ridged Carrion Beetles Oiceoptoma inaequale and O. noveboracense

Thanatophilus Northern Carrion Beetles – 2 only near Manitoba border
Thanatophilus lapponicus, T. sagax, and T. trituberculatus