April 29, 2021
It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
Today's nature post is a bit of a gross one, but I feel it's important to highlight even the most gag-inducing members of the natural world since they usually provide some important services for us all. Case in point: Oiceoptoma inaequale, the ridged carrion beetle!
Back in late March, I photographed these beetles while exploring in Ridgeway with VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov and VMNH Myriapodologist (millipede expert) Dr. Jackson Means. It seems a woodland box turtle had met an unfortunate end, and these ridged carrion beetles had arrived on the scene to do their thing.
So what do ridged carrion beetles do? Like most carrion beetles (there are about thirty different species), they show up when something dies, lay eggs on it, and their larvae feed on it. The adults, meanwhile, feed on any fly larvae they find, which helps reduce competition for their own offspring.
While all of that may sound pretty gross, it's a good thing that these beetles are out there breaking down dead organic matter. If not for their efforts, a walk through the woods wouldn't be relaxing so much as smelly and nightmarish.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!