In a previous post I made mention of carrion beetles, and thought hey, why not share some info about a project I was involved with.
The American Burying Beetle Nicrophorus americanus, is a federally endangered species. Populations occur today just west of the Mississippi River and in portions of Massachusetts. The historic range included all the states in between. No one knows exactly why their populations have dwindled so rapidly. Our land use practices probably play a part. One of the more accepted theories has to do with the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.
American Burying Beetles were common in collections until the birds demise. The simple lack of available carrion may be to blame. In the last decade, there has been an effort to reintroduce them throughout their previous range. Here in Ohio, the U.S. Forest Service is working with the Fish & Wildlife Service. Beetles are being raised at the St. Louis Zoo and Ohio State University.
The beetles are not spread out through the forest, but released in a concentrated area.