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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