Species Necrophila americana - American Carrion Beetle
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Staphylinoidea (Rove, Carrion and Fungus Beetles)
Family Silphidae (Carrion Beetles)
Species americana (American Carrion Beetle)
Other Common Names
Crusader Carrion Beetle (Jaeger, 1859(1)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Silpha americana Linnaeus, 1758
Distinctive: large, with mostly yellow pronotum. Oiceoptoma noveboracense
is similar, but smaller (14 mm), and has more of a cross-shaped dark mark on pronotum that goes all the way to the base (2)
In flight, with its yellow pronotum and black body, this species rather resembles a bumblebee (Bombus) or Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa). (Personal observation, P. Coin, Durham, North Carolina, 5/5/04.) Ratcliffe, p. 33, states the beetle mimics a cuckoo-bee, Psithyrus ashtoni.
TX-FL-ME-MN / adj. Can. (3)
Prefers "marshy and forested areas". (4)
Spring-early fall. March-September (Nebraska), reported April-July (North Carolina)
Adults consume fly larvae (maggots) at carrion, as well as some carrion.
Diurnal, not found at lights (but see comments here
). Found on carrion and decaying fungi. Larvae eat carrion, larvae of flies and other carrion beetles. Eggs are laid singly on or near carrion. They prefer larger carrion, Milne (5)
states "rat-sized or larger". Larvae hatch in a few days, feed in or under carcass, and pupate in a nearby soil cell. Larvae may prefer dried skin, bits of flesh after maggots have departed. Adults overwinter. (5) (4)
Arnett, p. 130, fig. 322 (6)
Marshall, photos 303.1-2, adult and larva (8)
Ratcliffe, pp. 32-34, fig. 57 (4)
White, p. 120, plate 2. (9)
Systema Naturae, 10th ed., v.1, p.360
- Linnaeus' original description (in Latin)
Insects of Quebec
has a page with good photos of specimens.
|1.||Life of North American Insects|
Benedict Jaeger. 1859. Harper.
|2.||A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America|
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
|4.||The Carrion Beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) of Nebraska|
Brett Ratcliffe. 1996. University of Nebraska State Museum.
|6.||How to Know the Beetles|
Ross H. Arnett, N. M. Downie, H. E. Jaques. 1980. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
|7.||Insects of North Carolina|
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
|9.||Peterson Field Guides: Beetles|
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.