Common Sexton Beetle

The Common Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides) is an insect in the Silphidae family of burying beetles.

The Common Sexton Beetle has two orange-yellow bands on it elytra (wing cases or wing covers). The wing cases are square and shorter than its body. It has black legs and short, black antennae. 

Common Sexton Beetle

It grows to 1-2 centimetres (less than an inch) in length.

It is found in the Northern Hemisphere, across Europe and north-western Canada. It prefers to live in open forests. It is seen all year.

It buries into the dead bodies of small animals such as mice and rats.

It is diurnal, active during the day. It is carnivorous, eating small insects, especially caterpillars.

It is a social beetle, interacting with its young. It is one of the few beetles that cares for its young.

The female lays about 50 eggs in the soil near dead animals. The eggs hatch after 13-54 days into larvae, called grubs. Each larva pupates (undergoes metamorphosis) by forming a casing. It emerges after 12-50 days as an adult beetle. 

Location of photograph: Paris, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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