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Species Necrophila americana - American Carrion Beetle

Necrophila americana American Carrion Beetles - Necrophila americana - male - female A Beetle? - Necrophila americana Necrophila americana American Carrion Beetle - Necrophila americana Carrion beetle - Necrophila americana beetles - Necrophila americana American Carrion Beetle - Necrophila americana
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
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)
Genus Necrophila
Species americana (American Carrion Beetle)
Other Common Names
Crusader Carrion Beetle (Jaeger, 1859(1))
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Necrophila americana (Linnaeus)
Orig. Comb: Silpha americana Linnaeus, 1758
14-20 mm

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),(BG data)
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.
Life Cycle
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)
Print References
Arnett, p. 130, fig. 322 (6)
Brimley, p. 135 (7)
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)
Internet References
Insects of Quebec has a page with good photos of specimens.
Works Cited
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.
3.An Illustrated Inventory of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Lick Creek Park, College Station, Texas
Edward G. Riley. 2011. Texas A&M University, Dept. Entomology, College Station.
4.The Carrion Beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) of Nebraska
Brett Ratcliffe. 1996. University of Nebraska State Museum.
5.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
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.
8.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
9.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.