Carrion Beetles EditArthropods (Arthropoda)----Insects (Insecta)---Beetles (Coleoptera)----Polyphaga----Staphylinoidea----Carrion beetles (Silphidae)
Carrion beetles are a smallish group, with 30 species in North America. These beetles appear in early May around Edmonton and can be seen flying and crawling on rocky surfaces, normally near and feeding on dead animals (hence the name). Many species can be attracted to lights at night. The antennae of Silphid beetles are quite easy to distinguish up close from other beetles. Most Carrion beetles are black - dark grey with a black or brown pronotum and head with some species having the abdomen longer than the elytra and thus not covering the entire body like most beetles. The larvae of Carrion beetles are strangely shaped and plated. Many of the species used to combined into the genus SIipha but many now have their own genus.
The more oblong shaped black species with 4-8 red patches are known as Sexton beetles, these are similar to 3mm Chequered beetles and smaller Ground beetles with the same sort of patterning but are much, much larger (until I found out Sexton beetles are about 3cm I thought these tiny beetles were Sextons). Sexton is a word meaning " a person at a church who mainly digs graves"; since these beetles search for a carcass and then bury it underground to lay eggs the resemblance is noticeable.
|Northern Carrion beetle||Thanatophilus lapponicus||Margined Carrion beetle||Oiceoptoma noveboracense|