Other Common Names
Giant Carrion Beetle, ABB
Explanation of Names
Nicrophorus americanus Olivier 1790
20-35 mm (1)
(the largest Nearctic silphid)
orange/red pronotal disc is distinctive
TX-SD, AR and Block Island, RI currently, as well as "experimental populations" introduced into MO, OH, and MA; historically recorded from at least 150 counties in 35 e. & c. US states (west to NE-TX), and in se. Canada (NS-ON)(1)(2)
availability of carrion prey is apparently significantly more important to healthy ABB populations than any particular vegetation type (Sikes & Raithel 2002)
the first beetle placed on the USFWS endangered species list (1989).
In 2012, the Oklahoma FWS Field Office helped establish the Muddy Boggy Conservation Bank
(MBCB) in an effort to conserve the American burying beetle (ABB) and its habitat. The MBCB is the first ABB conservation bank in the nation. Approximately 2,965 acres of ABB habitat are being protected through a Conservation Easement and a Perpetual Endowment for management of the property in perpetuity. The MBCB is located where Hughes, Coal, and Pontotoc Counties meet in South Central Oklahoma. Also in 2012, efforts were initiated to establish the Common Ground Capital American Burying Beetle Conservation Bank
(ABBCB) on 1600 acres in Pittsburg County, OK.
considered by AR, OK, and TX to be a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN) (3)(4)(5)
Anderson, R.S. 1982. On the decreasing abundance of Nicrophorus americanus
Olivier (Coleoptera: Silphidae) in eastern North America. Coleopterists' Bulletin 36(2): 362-365. JSTOR
Holloway, A.K. & G.D. Schnell. 1997. Relationship between numbers of the endangered American burying beetle Nicrophorus americanus Olivier (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and available food resources. Biological Conservation 81:145-152.
Lomolino, M.V., & J.C. Creighton. 1996. Habitat selection and breeding success of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus). Biological Conservation 77: 235-241.
Lomolino, M.V., J.C. Creighton, G.D. Schnell, & D.L. Certain. 1995. Ecology and conservation of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus
). Conservation Biology 9(3): 605-614. Abstract
Sikes, D.S., and C.J. Raithel. 2002. A review of hypotheses of decline of the endangered American burying beetle (Silphidae: Nicrophorus americanas
Olivier). Journal of Insect Conservation 6: 103–113. Download Full PDF
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1991. American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus
) Recovery Plan. Newton Corner, Massachusetts. 80 pp. Full PDF