Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I suppose some people don't like to look at certain dead creatures, and so I warn you ahead of time that you may not want to see these photos of a critter and some bugs.No fiber in this post...so you may move along if you are not interested in seeing what goes on in the woods. Kitty sometimes hunts and brings little trophies (dead critters) home. These are placed on the back steps for us to admire. Sometimes, I get busy, and cannot "clean up" after Kitty as soon as I would like. This morning, as I was making the coffee, I noticed one of Kitty's trophies on the steps, and made a mental note to "get to it". The day began to get busy and it was mid afternoon when I glanced out the window and noticed that the trophy had moved! And was still moving! It looked as though it was trying to crawl off the steps!

I kept my eyes on it as I finished doing some dishes, and watched it roll over and heave itself off one of the steps. Ok, enough, I was heading out there to see what was going on. It was Silphidae, one of the staphylinoid beetles.

I had found another type earlier this summer...This one is also known as a Burying or Sexton beetle. They bury the carcass ...and then use the food for their larvae.

For a moment I thought I had found the endangered Nicrophorus americanus...but on closer identification, well, I'm not sure which one it is. Due to the markings behind his head, I'm having trouble identifying him.One thing I am certain of, I will leave the "clean up" of this critter to the other critter. I just have to figure out where to hide it where the chickens won't find it.


Judith said...

So much life & death & in between that goes on in the woods. The beetle is quite interesting to me. What strength! I'll be on the lookout for that one. Every little or big corpse gets recycled in the woods, its amazing what the beetle is doing. I compost the dead frogs, toads and snakes and move dead critters out of the dogs' range. Cats are 'funny' the way they bring back trophies.

Brigid said...

That's fascinating. When our cat catches something she plays with it while it is alive but as soon as it's dead she just ignore it. It's easy for us to say that's 'cruel', but it must be in a cat's genetic make-up somewhere.

Sue said...

Very cool beetle! I did a Google image search of Nicrophorus, and lots of pictures of these critters came up, various species. I think yours may be N. tomentosus. There are pictures here


that look just like your picture, even to the markings on the carapace behind the head. Very neat.

judy said...

Amazing, amazing pictures.

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