Sunday Sketch: Burying Beetle Parents

Burying beetles (subfamily Nicrophorinae) are some of the best parents in the insect world! Both the males and females carefully tend to the carcass on which they lay their eggs, spreading antibacterial secretions and enzymes to maintain the carrion’s condition. These “brood balls” decompose at far slower rates than normal carcasses, provide an easy-to-digest food for the grubs, and attract fewer predators due to the suppressed scent of decay.


Sketch and fact contributed by Elizabeth Postema

Source: Hoback, W. W., Bishop, A. A., Jeremy, K., Scalzitti, J., & Shaffer, J. J. (2004). Differences among antimicrobial properties of carrion beetle secretions reflect phylogeny and ecology. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 30 (4), 719-729.

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