Image: Devil's Coach-horse Beetle

Devil's Coach-horse Beetle

Devil's Coach-horse Beetle Creophilus erythrocephalus.

Richard Major
© Australian Museum


Rove beetles - Family Staphylinidae

Staphylinids are usually elongate beetles with small elytra (wing covers) and large jaws. Like other beetles inhabiting carrion, they have fast larval development with only three larval stages.

Devil's Coach-horse Beetle, Creophilus erythrocephalus, is a common predator of carrion, and with its bright red head, is a very visible component of the fauna of corpses in Australia.

Adults are early visitors to a corpse and they feed on larvae of all species of fly, including predatory fly larvae. They lay their eggs in the corpse, and the emerging larvae are also predators. Creophilus erythrocephalus has a long development time in the egg, so it is common during the later stages of decomposition. As well as consuming maggots, they can also tear open the pupal cases of flies, so there is sufficient food to sustain them at a corpse for long periods.

Another rove beetle, Aleochara haemorrhoidalis feeds on eggs as well as young blowfly larvae.

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Tags death, online, decomposition, beetle, coleoptera, insect, insects,