DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Carrion (sexton) beetle (Cryptarchasp) and phorectic mite (Poecilochirus sp.). The genus Cryptarcha belongs to the family Nitidulidae and are common carrion beetles (also known as burying beetles or sap beetles). Cryptarchaspecies are part of the sub-family Cryptarchinae and have a life cycle of breeding on small carrion (dead animal carcass). Cryptarchabeetles will mate and lay eggs on a decaying carcass. If the carcass is small the adult male and female will dig the ground under it until the carcass is buried. When the burying beetle eggs hatch the larva then consume as much of the carcass as they can, pupate then become adults. Often burying beetles are covered with tiny phoretic which attach to the beetle and get carried from carcass to carcass. These mites feed on the eggs of flies and are not in competition with the burying beetle for decaying food consumption. Magnification: x8 when shortest axis.
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