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Observation of the Uncommon Burying Beetle Nicrophorus hebes (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Silphinae), Feeding on a Dead Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) in Massachusetts

James F. Welch1,*, Bryan Windmiller1, and John Berkholtz1

1Zoo New England Field Conservation Department, Stoneham, MA 02180. *Corresponding author.

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 30, Issue 3 (2023): N44–N47

Nicrophorus hebes is a recently revalidated species of burying beetle in the family Staphylinidae (formerly Silphidae) reported as a wetland specialist. We observed a first record of N. hebes in a recently deceased juvenile Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding’s Turtle). To date only 2 other Nicrophorus species (N. sayi and N. marginatus) have been shown to use turtle carcasses in an experimental study. This observation presents the first record for N. hebes utilizing turtle carrion and the first natural observation of the use of turtle carcasses by a Nicrophorus species. This unique observation may help researchers better understand food webs within wetlands and the prey items burying beetles are using within wetland habitats.

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