Similar to the rest of the beetles that make up the family Silphidae, more commonly known as carrion beetles, the Necrophila americana primarily eats decaying organic matter such as dead animals. In order to be a successful family this group of beetles needs to be very effective at finding its food source. The secret to this lies in the antennae. The antennae contain olfactory receptors which are critical in the process of searching for a decaying food source (Dethier, 1947). On average it takes the Necrophila americana between three and five days after the death of the food source to locate it (Shubeck and Blank, 1982).

Below (left): The image on the left is of the American carrion beetle feeding on a pile of dung.

Below (right): The image on the right is of the American carrion beetle.

         Photo taken by Will Cook                          Photo taken by Will Cook                                                                      

The Necrophila americana use dead animals as a host for their larva, which allows the larva an immediate food source once hatched. Also, the adult American carrion beetles not only eat already dead organic matter but also the larva of flies that have beaten the beetle to the dead food source. American carrion beetles do this in order to stop the fly larva from eating the food source that the beetle’s larva will eventually be feeding on once they have hatched from their eggs. This ensures that the beetle’s larva will have enough to eat once hatched (O'Toole, 2002).

Below: The picture displayed below shows the American carrion beetle feeding on dead organic matter along with several flies that compete for a food source.

           Photo taken by Will Cook