Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Substrate discrimination in burying beetles, Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae)

October 1, 1991

Burying beetles Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) secure and bury small vertebrate carcasses as a food resource for their offspring and themselves. Burial may take place at the point of carcass discovery or at some distance from that site. Burying beetles were tested to determine if they discriminate between different substrates when burying a carcass. Three substrates were presented simultaneously. Substrate one contained soil from typical beetle habitat; substrates two and three contained 2:1 and 5:1 ratios, respectively, of soil and a senescent prairie grass (Panicum virgatum), which added a bulk structural component to the soil. Beetles generally moved and buried the carcass within 24 hours. Results for both paired and individual trials suggest that burying beetles discriminate between substrates, preferring substrates with added bulk over those without.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1991
Title Substrate discrimination in burying beetles, <i>Nicrophorus orbicollis</i> (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
DOI
Authors Erin Louise Muths
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Series Number
Index ID 70126906
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization