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Carrion beetle

Carrion beetles (Family Silphidae) are a minor group of beetles, consisting of about 300 species. The name "carrion beetles" is not accurate, because many species don't feed carrion, but are carnivorous.

The genera Phosphuga, Ablattaria and Silpha are mainly snail hunters. They spray digestive fluid into the snail-shell, and afterwards they suck the prey out of its shell.

The carrion beetles of the genus Xylodrepa hunt caterpillars, and Aclypea and Blitophaga are considered as pests, because they feed on garden plants.

The best-known members of the family are the burying beetles (Nicrophorus), which are indeed carrion-eating beetles.


Carrion beetles are divided into two subfamilies, which can be distinguished by the length of the elytra (= forewings).

  1. Silphinae (elytra cover the entire abdomen)
  2. Nicrophorinae (elytra don't cover the three last segments of the abdomen)

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