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carrion burying beetle with mites? - Poecilochirus

carrion burying beetle with mites? - Poecilochirus
Chalco Hills Recreation Area, Sarpy County, Nebraska, USA
October 22, 2006
Size: 2 - 3 cm
We saw this large black and orange beetle crossing the trail at this recreation area. When we looked at the photos, enlarged, we thought these might be some type of mite symbiotically being carried by this beetle. Any idea which mite these might be?

Images of this individual: tag all
carrion burying beetle with mites? - Poecilochirus carrion burying beetle with mites? - Nicrophorus orbicollis


Moved from Sexton Beetles.

They're symbiotic.
Each derives a benefit from the other. Mites and false scor*pions climb aboad beetles as air transport in order to reach new food supplies they could never reach by foot. The mites in turn eat the eggs and freshly hatched maggots of flies that compete with beetle larvae for the food source. This arrangement is equally true for carrion and dung beetles. Therefore, a mite-laden beetle is more likely to have offspring that survive. (I'm unsure what payment the false scorp*ions might make :-)

This is another interesting idea I can share with my middle school science students. Nature is amazing.

Thanks for your input.

Carrion beetle
They shouldn't call this the "carrion burying beetle," but the "carrying, burying beetle"!! Hahaha!

(I know -- that was bad)

Good joke
My husband and I enjoyed your joke...thanks for your input.

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