American Carrion Beetle

image of American Carrion Beetle
Scientific Name
Necrophila americana
Silphidae (carrion beetles) in the order Coleoptera (beetles)

The American carrion beetle has a yellow pronotum with a big black spot in the middle. Adult length is about ½ to ¾ inch. In flight, they seem like bumblebees. Adults of this species of silphid beetle eat fly maggots, plus some carrion.

The American carrion beetle's larvae are black, teardrop-shaped grubs that look something like sowbugs.

Learn more about carrion beetles, burying beetles, and other silphids in their family page.

Similar species: The margined carrion beetle (Oiceoptoma noveboracense) is closely related. The pronotum is often orangish instead of pale yellow, and the dark spot has a lobe on each side. It is smaller, only reaching about ½ inch in length.

Other Common Names
Crusader Carrion Beetle
Life Cycle
Adults deposit eggs on a dead vertebrate animal, and the larvae eat the corpse. The sowbug-like larvae hatch after the dead animal has dried somewhat and eat the carrion, particularly dried skin, then creep away to pupate.
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Similar Species
About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.