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Unidentified Black Beetle - Necrophilus

Unidentified Black Beetle - Necrophilus
Bellevue, King County, Washington, USA
December 18, 2015
Sitting on a sword fern leaf. I suspect a male perhaps because of the more complex antennae, but don't know if that's truly differentiating

Images of this individual: tag all
Unidentified Black Beetle - Necrophilus Unidentified Black Beetle - Necrophilus Unidentified Black Beetle - Necrophilus

Moved from ID Request.

Primitive Carrion Beetle
Something close to this, but I can't confirm the exact species:
Necrophilus hydrophiloides: Good Luck!

Potential Primitive Carrion Beetle
I does look quite similar, although the outer antenna segments seem a bit different, but perhaps that's an age or gender difference. Thanks for the lead.

BTW... general question if you happen to know... what macro magnification level is adequate for hand-held use when I come across my small many-legged friends, but not too much as to require a tripod? Lighting is somewhat lacking, and right now dependent on the on-board flash.

Thanks... no worries if you have no clue on the lens (off topic question)

macro magnification level
It's not so much what magnification is adequate as what magnification you can effectively use. Most dedicated macro lenses are capable of life size reproduction (1:1) but you don't have to use them at that high a magnification because they focus all the way from 1:1 to infinity. With practice, 1:1 hand held is workable if the light is good enough (high enough shutter speed, etc). A monopod can be useful, not as steady as a tripod but more agile when the insect is moving.

No I can't recommend a lens.
Working with macro lenses is difficult, as you begin to loose focal depth and illumination.
Here is an image that is close to my limit, with just a camcorder and sunlight: (cropped)
Often, it depends on the size of the bug or the features needed for ID purposes.