Insect Portraits – a Carrion Beetle

December 4th 2019

Insect Portraits – a Carrion Beetle

This handsome carrion beetle, over 10mm long, was found by Gwen Richards on dog dung in her garden at Torbreck (NC0824) on 20th August 2019 (and photographed on a more salubrious background).

It belongs to the family Silphidae, the carrion, burying or sexton beetles, and is an example of the species Thanatophilus rugosus, for which there are no previous records from the north-west of Scotland, according to the NBN Atlas.

Other members of the family, the black, or black and orange, members of the genus Nicrophorus, are more familiar sights, on the corpses of birds or mammals, which they do indeed bury to provide food for their larvae.  Thanatophilus rugosus is not a dung feeder as such; the attraction will have been the larvae of flies or other beetles which, thankfully, help to dispose of dung.

Ian M. Evans

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Recent Sightings

Blackcap

single male bird in Torbreck garden (Gwen Richards) (30/09)

Yellow-browed Warbler

single bird in Torbreck garden (Gwen Richards) (30/09)

Slow-worm

single reptile spotted on Baddidarach to Achmelvich path (Ballal Mirza) (29/09)

Brent Goose

single light-bellied bird on rock in Clashnessie Bay (DAH). This bird had two coloured leg rings and we are trying to establish its history. Update 30-9-20 - we have heard back from the Irish Brent Goose Ringing Group and this bird was ringed as a juvenile in South Dublin in December 2019. (29/09)

Little Grebe

three birds, Lochan Sgeireach, Stoer (DAH) (29/09)

Sparrowhawk

single bird, probably juvenile, in 'dogfight' with Hooded Crow for over 10 minutes (Gwen Richards and Ian M. Evans) (29/09)

Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare)

single plant in fenced ground, Culkein Stoer (Ian M. Evans and Gwen Richards). First record of this plant in Assynt since 2006 (29/09)

Bar-tailed Godwit

single bird Bay of Culkein (Gwen Richards and Ian Evans) (29/09)

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