Did you know that Nicrophorus americanus eat dead vertebrates?  That's not something one would usually associate with a beetle. As an adult, Nicrophorus americanus eats various carcass sizes, and the larva eat mostly smaller vertebrates. Nicrophorus americanus can eat such a variety of carcass sizes because it is the largest of the Nicrophorus genus in North America (Creighton 1998). 


  However, they don’t start out the largest. The parents start getting ready for the larva to hatch from their eggs by making a brooding ball from the dead carcass of an animal by opening a little feeding hole near the top that they regurgitate onto. The larva then have two choices of how to get their food; they can either beg the parents to keep regurgitating food to them or they can go directly to the carcass and feed right off of it.


Image courtesty of Bryan Reynolds: (c) Bryan Reynolds/

The larger the Nicrophorus beetle grows, the more dependant they are on the parent’s help during feeding, and since Nicrophorus americanus can become very large, they rely heavily on their parents help in the early stages of their life (Scott 1998).


Want to learn about the life cycle of Nicrophorus americanus? Click on Reproduction


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