Hard Working Decomposers: Carrion Beetles

In the month that we celebrate all things macabre, I thought I’d include a post on carrion beetles.

First off, carrion is the carcass of a dead animal. Vultures, hawks, eagles, Virginia opossums and carrion beetles will all eat carrion. Maggots of some flies also eat carrion. It is good that they do eat carrion because they help recycle nitrogen and carbon.

You may also be interested in my post (with cool pictures) of black vultures.

Strangely, this dead opossum was on my driveway one morning. Not sure what killed it.

In addition to eating carrion, carrion beetles eat fly maggots. The flies come to lay their eggs on the carrion. The maggots (if not eaten by carrion beetles) will also feast on the carrion.

Ridged carrion beetles (Oiceoptoma inaequale) on a recently dead opossum.

They will mate (see in photo one beetle on another) and lay eggs. The eggs will hatch into larvae (the babies) and like their parents, eat carrion and fly maggots. Yum yum!

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