Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Sunday 6 October 2013

Necrodes littoralis

If you run a moth trap you will know that other taxa are regularly attracted to lights as well as moths.  Caddis/Dipteran flies and wasps are all common visitors.  Barry Stewart has recently found a RDBK hemipteran bug in the west of the County (see here), and I found a less rare but nonetheless interesting species in my trap recently, the Shore Burying Beetle (Necrodes littoralis).  There are about 35 historic county records for this species all but two of which are from moth traps.
Necrodes littoralis - Rhoose Point 4/10/13
It is a species which favours coastal locations although it is sometimes found inland.  They apparently favour larger carcasses than the similar looking Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus humator) which buries smaller carcasses.  The strongly ribbed elytra with a raised kink at two thirds and the absence of clubbed antennae easily differentiate Necrodes littoralis from Nicrophorus humator.

Because of their unsavoury feeding habits you are advised to take care if you ever handle one.  They also give off a rather malodorous stench!


  1. I once made the mistake of putting a burying beetle in a specimen tube. Despite washing the tube thoroughly I couldn't get rid of the stench and ended up throwing it away.

    Nice record though!


  2. Thanks George! I did exactly the same thing, unfortunately I have chucked it back in with the rest so that will be a nice surprise when I go to use it again!

  3. I sadly have a couple of tubes which have had them in - I think I need to label them to warn people before opening them...

  4. Welcome Vaughn and thanks for contributing! I think Russian 'tube' roulette is definately the way to go!

    Just worth mentioning that this is an open blog so if you have anything of interest then please don't hesitate to add a post.