Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Carrion Beetles - Gross Stuff Warning!

White-tailed Deer love to hang out right in front of the EDC. They seem to be shedding their winter coats - we found a few clumps of deer fur along the trail!A park volunteer brought me a partial deer skeleton that he found on the other side of the reservoir. Since it still had some meat and fur on it and is a bit smelly, I put it out alongside the trail for the scavengers and decomposers to finish cleaning. The skeleton has only been there a week and already it has been discovered by carrion beetles (family Silphidae), who were working away industriously at cleaning up the remaining dried up bits of flesh from the bones. Here's a video of some of the beetles working away. There appear to be two types of carrion beetle here - all black ones, and some with orange on their heads, almost like lightening bugs. I find them fascinating, but if the thought of beetles scuttling about and munching on a dead deer grosses you out, you may not want to watch this one. Just imagine how gross it would be if they DIDN'T eat the deer though - yuck!

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