Insect identification > Coleoptera > True Coleoptera > Carrion beetles

Carrion beetles

Family Silphidae (carrion beetles). - Most of the members of this family are of good size, ranging from half an inch to three times that length.

Two rather distinct types of insect are common in the group, one (Silpha) having a broad, rather flat body and with the sides of the prothorax very thin. These insects average less than an inch in length and the elytra are usually black.

In the other type (Necrophorus) the insect is larger, stout, with a body more cylindrical, and the elytra generally have dull-red markings and are frequently shorter than the abdomen.

Both types feed on dead animals in most cases, and their larvae have the same food, so that the group may therefore be regarded as beneficial. It is not a very large family, in the United States at least.