Interactions with other species

The American carrion beetle is known to participate in a commensal relationship with mites (mainly Poecilochirus sp.). The mites attach to the adult beetle, which then transports the mites by either flight or walking to an active food source. The mites then detach from the beetle and feed on the carcass. Without the beetle, the mites would be very limited on the distance they could travel to feed. Also, besides just eating the carcass, the mites reproduce at the feeding site utilizing the carcass as an immediate food source for its young, similar to how the American carrion beetle uses a dead animal carcass for reproduction. The mites do not only feed on the carcass but also on the fly eggs just like the beetle. This allows for more food for the young of both the beetle and the mites, however in large densities the mites have been known to feed on the beetle larva as well (Gibbs and Stanton, 2001).

    Photo taken by John Abbott

Above: The above photo is of an American carrion beetle covered in mites. The mites and the beetle have developed a commensal relationship.

Interactions with humans

Carrion beetles in general are a very significant group of decomposers. They prevent a buildup of dead organisms from gathering and play a significant role in clearing the landscape of dead organic matter.

Also, Coleoptera in general have an important role in forensics. Beetles can be of great help in determining the post-mortem interval by the amount of a specific species that has gathered on a human. Also by knowing the amount of time it takes for the eggs of a specific beetle to hatch and being able to determine the maturity of the larva can be another important tool to determine the time of death of an individual (Schubeck and Blank, 1982).