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Necrophorus vespilloides

Necrophorus vespilloides
Photo Information
Copyright: Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-08-14
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H10, Zeiss Tessar 40 mm
Exposure: f/4, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-08-21 1:44
Viewed: 4146
Points: 4
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I know it's not a pretty sight, the dead Blackbird and the Burying beetles (Coleoptera; Silphidae; Necrophorus vespilloides (Herbst 1786); Schwarzhörniger Totengräber). The problem for me is that I usually take pictures of insects when they are not doing anything interesting. For once you can see action, that's the reason for mounting the picture on TN. Furthermore, this species has not been presented before on TN.

There are interesting biological details to this beetle: The beetles find the carcass by its odor. They often arrive at it as a couple. Then they get busy burying the corpse right where they found it by excavating the soil underneath. Meanwhile other scavengers arrive like flies who lay eggs on the dead body. But the beetles carry with them big mites that are symbionts: the mites look for fly eggs and eat them, so Necrophorus does'nt have to share the meal! The beetle is just the transport vehicle for the mites. Once the carcass is buried, the female stays with it, feeds from it and lays eggs. The female also cares for the brood and raises it by distributing a digestive liquid over the carcass and feeding the nutritive broth to the young.

ID: There are three Necrophorus species hereabout. One (N. humator) is all black, the other one (N. vespillo) has a red antennal knob and curved hind tibias

anel, oanaotilia, cataclysta, ervinjn has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-08-21 6:45]

Lieber Dieter,
Ae chli gruuselig...
Aber sicher sehr interessant. Ich habe eine solche Szene auch schon beobachtet, aber nicht fotografiert. Interessanter Begleittext, der das ein wenig chaotische Bild erklärt. Ein hervorragendes Dokument!
Mutig bist Du ja schon!!
Liebe Grüsse

Hello Dietrich,

A fascinating if somewhat morbid species, and an excellent photo of them doing what they do. Excellent note too. Nice, sharp image with very natural color.


Hi Dietrich
Is an anusual shot but it is also a part of nature. Biology of those betlees is very interesting Nature is not always pretty from the human point of view Great observation, interesting note
Best wishes

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