AMERICAN BURYING BEETLE

American Burying Beetle
Photo by Bob Gress
used by permission

American Burying Beetle
Nicrophorus americanus

Federal Status:
Endangered

State Status:
Endangered

  • Range: Kansas range map for American Burying Beetle
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
  • Comments:  The American burying beetle belongs to a small group of beetles known to bury small, dead animals. This large, strikingly-colored beetle is nocturnal. It uses its sensitive antennae to detect the odor of a recently dead mouse or bird. If an unmated male locates a carcass, he flies to a nearby perch and releases a pheromone to attract a mate. The mated pair of beetles will move the carcass to a suitable site of loose soil and quickly bury it. Once underground, the feathers or fur are removed and the carcass is anointed with secretions to help preserve it from bacterial decay. Parental care is rare in beetles but these adults remain underground to protect their young and regurgitate food directly to their larval offspring. The American burying beetle was once found in 35 states across the eastern United States. Now it only occupies the eastern and western periphery of its former range. It has been documented in Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas, with reintroductions attempted in Massachusetts and Ohio.

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Other Kansas Insects at Risk

SCOTT OPTIOSERVUS RIFFLE BEETLE


Kansas Wildlife Refuge
Text: Ed Miller and Bob Gress
Range Maps and Web Design: Jim Mason

Questions or comments?  Send Email to Jim Mason Spidey
Or write us at: 
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555