The American Burying Beetle now lists as Critically endangered, due to human activity. Their native range once included much of North America, in the United States and Canada. Now, they inhabit only five states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The principal reasons for their decline include alteration, degradation, and loss of habitat.
This beetle is a carnivorous insect which feeds almost exclusively on carrion. Uniquely, they also require carrion to breed.
This species also ranks as one of the few known types of beetle that display parental care with their offspring.
American Burying Beetle Physical Description and Behavior
The beetle is relatively large. Adults average around 1.5 in (3.8 cm) in length. The bodies are predominantly black in color and there are typically two bright orange bands on each wing cover.
A structure behind the head resembles a shield and is usually orange with black edges. Additionally, each antenna is topped with a small patch of orange.
Males will locate a carcass and then attract a mate. After mating, the pair buries the carcass, and the female lays eggs adjacent to it. Once the eggs hatch, both parents tend the young.
American Burying Beetle Habitat and Conservation
The American Burying Beetle appears to be able to adapt to numerous habitat types. They inhabit grasslands, prairies, forests, and scrubland.
Evidence indicates that the availability of adequate carrion plays a greater role than does the nature of the environment. Food and hatching place above all.
Today the insects are predominantly restricted to areas devoid of direct human interference. What else could they do? Conservation efforts are in their infancy but are underway. These include setting aside plots of a forest as protected areas.