found this guy in my moms back yard in st.catharines, Ontario a few years back and forgot I had the picture after a few weeks of fruitless attempts at identifying him (her?) stumbled on this site tonight trying to id a tiger bee fly (thank you btw) and thought it might be a ladybug larvae but it’s WAY too big and not all spiky like they are. any help?
It is one of the carrion beetles, family Silphidae, but more specifically it is one of the sexton or burying beetles called the tomentose burying beetle. This beetle is distinguished by the yellow hair on the mid section (thorax) just behind the head…all other sexton beetles have black thoraxes.
The sexton beetles are known to bury small animal carcasses, while this particular one just makes a shallow pit and covers the dead animal with litter. This species of beetles are also known for unusual parental care…after laying eggs on the carcass, they stay to feed the larvae on regurgitated carrion.
These beetles are found east of the Rockies in North America.
Many times you will see tiny mites on these beetles. The ability of these beetles to fly attracts symbiotic mites to attach to the adult beetles. Then, the mites feed on fly eggs that might be on the carrion that compete with the beetle larvae for food 🙂