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Species Nicrophorus pustulatus

Sexton Beetle   - Nicrophorus pustulatus Nicrophorus - Nicrophorus pustulatus Nicrophorus pustulatus Beetle species? - Nicrophorus pustulatus Sexton Beetle - Nicrophorus pustulatus Silphidae - Nicrophorus pustulatus sexton beetle - Nicrophorus pustulatus Burying Beetle - Nicrophorus pustulatus
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)
No Taxon (Series Staphyliniformia)
Superfamily Staphylinoidea (Rove, Carrion and Fungus Beetles)
Family Silphidae (Carrion Beetles)
Genus Nicrophorus (Sexton Beetles)
Species pustulatus (Nicrophorus pustulatus)
Other Common Names
Pustulated Carrion Beetle
Explanation of Names
Nicrophorus pustulatus Herschel 1807
14-22 mm(1)
Mostly black with small elytral spots rather than bands. Elytra are smooth, lacking setae (long hairs) found in the somewhat similar N. orbicollis.
NA east of the Rockies (west to AB-ND-e.TX)(1)(2)
Life Cycle
Reported to be a brood parasite of other Nicrophorus(1). Also reported to parasitize the eggs of Black Rat Snakes, Elaphe obsoleta (Blouin-Demers & Weatherhead 2000, Trumbo 2009). The beetle larvae destroy the snake eggs, thus, the beetle would qualify as a parasitoid of the snake, a relationship usually seen only among invertebrates. In the wild, N. pustulatus is not known to exhibit the usual carcass-burying behavior of other members of its genus, though it will display some of this behavior in captivity. There is suspicion, too, that it may parasitize eggs of other reptiles, and, perhaps, birds (Trumbo 2009).
Described by Johann Dietrich Herschel (1755-1827) (Madge 1994), apparently the brother of William Herschel (Millman 1980: 209)
See Also
Print References
Blouin-Demers G., Weatherhead P.J. (2000) A novel association between a beetle and a snake: parasitism of Elaphe obsoleta by Nicrophorus pustulatus. Ecoscience 7: 395-397 (abstract).
Madge R.B. 1994. Who was Herschel? Canadian Entomologist 126(3): 543-548 (Abstract)
Trumbo S. (2009) From gravedigger to assassin -- how the habits of one species of burying beetle have changed. Nat. Hist. 118(7): 18-19 (Full text)
Works Cited
1.The Carrion Beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) of Nebraska
Brett Ratcliffe. 1996. University of Nebraska State Museum.
2.Checklist of beetles (Coleoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Second edition
Bousquet Y., Bouchard P., Davies A.E., Sikes D.S. 2013. ZooKeys 360: 1–402.