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Beetle Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle - Photo  Copyright 2004 Perry Lambert
Photo: Perry Lambert

UK Safari Tip:
A great way to see all the details on these beetles and other small creatures is with a special magnifier box - click here

Latin name: Nicrophorus vespillo

Size: Approximately 3cms long

Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen: April to October

Food: Well known for feeding on the corpses of dead animals. Will also feed on other insects.

Habitat: Anywhere that dead animals might be found. They often fly towards lights at night.

Special features: Wing casings are brightly marked with two wavy orange bands, and also the antennae have bright orange bobbles on the ends.

There are several similar species, all commonly known as Sexton beetles or burying beetles.

Click for a better viewThey get their name from the practice of digging a hole beneath a dead animal and then pulling the body down into the hole. This photo (click left) shows a blackbird buried by sexton beetles, with just a few feathers showing above the ground.

Sexton beetles usually work in pairs, and afterwards the female will lay her eggs next to the corpse for her young to feed on when they hatch.

Did You Know?
It is thought that Sexton beetles can smell a rotting corpse from up to a mile away.

Track Down More Info

UK Safari Beetle Section
UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved