Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Ridged Carrion Beetles
I explained to the kids how important these beetles were to the environment, pointing out how quickly we would be overrun with smelly carcasses without them and other insects there to play clean-up crew.
We discovered a deer head that was slicked clean, with exception to a little hide left on the very top of the skull.
This particular species of carrion beetle is found in deciduous woodlands, especially near a water source. This was perfect habitat for them, the small pond is surrounded by timber.
This is a raccoon carcass found near a wetland area on our farm. I have no idea how the skin ended up pulled forward off the skull instead of backwards, but this critter appears to have been killed by some kind of disease or possibly starvation. In the end all things must die, but through this process, other things go on to survive and even thrive on the remains. Carrion beetles are an insect that not a lot of thought is given to, perhaps it is something we prefer to not think about. Death is a topic that makes many people uncomfortable, the untimely or unexplained death of an animal can raise questions we simply cannot find answers to. These beetles are important scavengers and decomposers, without them being outside would soon smell like rotten, decaying flesh, making any foray into the wilderness unpleasant. So I say Hooray for the Carrion Beetles!