Nicrophorus orbicollis

Roundneck Sexton Beetle
Nicrophorus orbicollis

 

Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis came to moth lights June 16, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis came to moth lights June 16, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black, shiny. Eyes large. Face ridged down middle. Two tubercles on mouth with small faded orangish spot above tubercles, difficult to see.
Antenna: Black with orange clubs, base of club black.
Thorax (Pronotum): Shiny black, rounded with wide up-turned margin. Underside brown with some hair.

Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis unmated adult with wings spread (and a few mites). Came to moth lights Aug 21, 2011.
Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis unmated adult with wings spread (and a few mites). Came to moth lights Aug 21, 2011.

Wings (Elytra): Black, shiny, with erect hairs. Four orange-red patches – 2 large wavy patches near base of wings, another smaller pair near wing end. Wings straight across the bottom, not pointed; short with cone-shaped abdomen tip protruding. Actual wings are tinted reddish-brown.
Legs: Black. Front shin (tibia) has tufts of reddish-brown hair. Hind shin (tibia) straight (not bowed out), wider at tip.
Abdomen: Black, shiny, cone-shaped at tip, exposed due to short wings.

Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis Aug 21, 2011 Wheatley, Ontario. Came to moth lights. Newly hatched 'teneral' or unmated adult with mites on head.
Carrion Beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis Aug 21, 2011 Wheatley, Ontario. Came to moth lights. Newly hatched ‘teneral’ or unmated adult with mites on head.

Size: 15 to 23 mm.

Habitat: Forests.

Food: Prefers fly larvae; fresh carrion, dung, rotted fruits.

Flight Time: Late May to August.

Life Cycle: Males and females find fresh carrion and mate. The beetles hide the carcass in existing tunnels in the soil, or bury it right where it is, or drag it away and bury it in softer soil, preferring soils mix with matting vegetation. The outside covering of the carcass is removed (fur or feathers), then rolled into a ball. The beetles then add their own secretions for softening and preserving the carcass. The female then digs a tunnel under the carcass and lays her eggs. When larvae hatch, they are fed regurgitated meat by their parents. By late July, the larvae become unmated adults which over-winter and mate the next spring. Adults are nocturnal and come to lights.
All Nicrophorus species will carry mites Poecilochirus, that hitch a ride on the adults to get to a carcass, where they feed on fly eggs.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee and Ojibway. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

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