Friday, April 8, 2011
One of the things about moth traps is that they don't only catch moths! Yesterday evening this turned up. It's Nicrophorus humator, a species of Sexton Beetle, so-called because of the way in which pairs cooperate in burying a carcass before laying their eggs in a nearby tunnel. All of these beetles have orange markings on the wing cases except for this one which is totally black apart from the red tips to the clubbed antennae.
When burying a carcass the pair will sometimes cut off the limbs to make it easier...it's ironic that this individual is missing one of its lower legs!
The other thing about these beetles is that they are inevitably covered in Mites. The Mites hitching a ride on this individual ran out of sight as soon as I brought it out into the sunlight. It reminded me a bit of those scarey films where nameless horrors of the night scuttle away when the door is opened or the light is switched on!