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Substrate discrimination in burying beetles, Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae)

Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society

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Abstract

Burying beetles Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) secure and bury small vertebrate carcasses as a food resource for their offspring and themselves. Burial may take place at the point of carcass discovery or at some distance from that site. Burying beetles were tested to determine if they discriminate between different substrates when burying a carcass. Three substrates were presented simultaneously. Substrate one contained soil from typical beetle habitat; substrates two and three contained 2:1 and 5:1 ratios, respectively, of soil and a senescent prairie grass (Panicum virgatum), which added a bulk structural component to the soil. Beetles generally moved and buried the carcass within 24 hours. Results for both paired and individual trials suggest that burying beetles discriminate between substrates, preferring substrates with added bulk over those without.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Substrate discrimination in burying beetles, Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
Series title:
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Volume:
64
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1991
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kansas Entomological Society
Publisher location:
Manhattan, KS
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
First page:
447
Last page:
450