Friday, August 13, 2010

Chandos Road, Ampthill

This is the Banded Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus investigator, perched on the wall of my moth trap!

Recently, I did a study on our 7 species of Burying, or Sexton, Beetles and discovered just how fascinating their lifestyle can be. Have you, like me, ever wondered why so few small mammal & bird corpses are found considering how abundant they are? This little beastie and his friends is probably the main reason.

Sexton Beetles have a nose or, perhaps we should say, antennae, for a corpse, flying in from some distance in order to fulfil their vital task. We wouldn’t consider a corpse romantic but, for the Sexton Beetle, it’s the place to meet up and get to know one another. They bury the corpse and then lay their eggs close to the body as a future food source for their little ones!

What I find most amazing about these creatures takes place next, as the parents don’t high-tail it off to another corpse, but stay behind to feed the growing larvae before they’re able to look after themselves! The photo above shows just this amazing behaviour!

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