Necrophila americana


Photograph by Peter Clark.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.


Necrophila americana, American carrion beetles devouring what is probably a Boletus mushroom. The large mushroom was reduced to shreds in about two hours. Boxford, Massachusetts, August, 2007.


I guess it’s true, believe in evolution, and pretty soon you’re showing pictures of Necrophila in action on the web.

It just never ends…

Glen Davidson

That poor mushroom. And it used to be such a fun guy.

Most likely it died laughing :) :)

Years ago, I missed my lone opportunity for a neat photo of one of these. It was when I worked as a raptor rehabilitator, and within the flight cage one was studiously transporting a regurgitated pellet, exactly like a dung beetle. I waited for it to get into a dramatic shaft of sunlight and snapped a few frames.

Turns out the focusing screen in my Olympus OM-10 wasn’t seated properly and was a fraction of a millimeter out of position - this is enough to screw up focus (it was all manual back then,) and while it looked fine in the viewfinder, it was significantly blurry on the negative.

Took me ages to figure out what the issue was, since any image with decent depth-of-field didn’t show the problem. I have seen this species just once since then, without a camera in hand (that is to say, I had no camera in my hand; the beetles never do, since they prefer painting and think photography cheapens art…)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 30, 2013 12:00 PM.

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