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Carrion/Burying Beetles

Last weekend at the Bracebridge Lagoons we found a dead mole slowly being eaten by several carrion beetles. Most of them appeared to be American Carrion Beetles:

When we moved the mole a burying/sexton beetle (maybe Nicrophorus tomentosus?) came out from underneath:

It was carrying several mites on its body. The mites apparently hitch a ride with the beetles from food source to food source. The adult beetle will lay eggs near/on the dead animal and the larva will hatch out to a food source. The mites eat the maggots and fly eggs that are also on the dead animal, thus reducing potential competitors of the burying beetle's larva. A symbiotic relationship known as phoresy, in which one species is carried about by another.

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The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of birds and other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You may also post a question about birds or birding in general. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Remember to include the location of your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. See the Posting Guidelines for more information and helpful tips about using the Muskoka Bird Board.

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