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

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Bullfinch

one pair feeding on old road opposite Little Assynt Tree Nursery and two pairs in trees, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (21/01)

Dipper

three birds on River Inver opposite Little Assynt Tree Nursery (DAH) (21/01)

Little Grebe

two birds, Loch an Ordain, Alltanabradhan (DAH) (21/01)

Goldfinch

c50 feeding in crofts around Elphin Tearooms (Helen OKeefe) (20/01)

Stonechat

single male bird (back?) on a territory at Culkein Drumbeg which was occupied by a pair during 2019 (DAH) (18/01)

White-tailed Eagle

two birds flying over Clachtoll, spooking a flock of ten Greylag Geese (AS) (18/01)

Pied Wagtail

single bird at Clachtoll (AS) (18/01)

Curlew

26 birds at Clachtoll (AS) (18/01)

Map