How to translate text using browser tools
24 January 2017 Causes of Rapid Carrion Beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) Death in Flooded Pitfall Traps, Response to Soil Flooding, Immersion Tolerance, and Swimming Behavior
Michael C. Cavallaro, M. Christopher Barnhart, W. Wyatt Hoback
Author Affiliations +

Terrestrial insects in water can often delay or escape drowning by floating and swimming. However, we observed that flooding of pitfall traps baited with rotting carrion results in high overnight mortality of captured beetles and reasoned that this risk may be enhanced by microbial respiration. By assessing carrion beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) response to flooding, tolerance to immersion, and swimming behavior, we offer insights to this cause of death and beetle behavioral physiology. Response of buried Nicrophorus orbicollis Say to soil flooding resulted in beetles moving to the soil surface. The lethal time to 50% mortality (LT50 (immersion); mean ± 95% CI) for Nicrophorus investigator Zetterstedt, Nicrophorus marginatus F., Necrodes surinamensis F., and Thanatophilus lapponicus Herbst was 14.8 ± 2.3, 9.0 ± 3.3, 3.2 ± 1.1, and 12.1 ± 2.5 h, respectively. Swimming behavior and survival time of N. investigator was tested using yeast:sucrose (Y:S) solutions to create a eutrophic, severely hypoxic aqueous environment. LT50 (swimming) for N. investigator was 7.5 ± 1.4, 6.0 ± 1.7, and 4.2 ± 1.2 h for the low, medium, and high Y:S solutions, respectively, and >24.0 h in control treatments. Nicrophorus investigator survived nearly twice as long when completely immersed in deoxygenated water, as might occur in flooded burrows, than when swimming on the surface. We document for the first time, the rapid induction of hypoxic coma and death for a terrestrial insect from enhanced microbial activity and CO2 production of an aqueous environment, as well as suggestions on trapping protocols related to the federally endangered Nicrophorus americanus Olivier.

© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
Michael C. Cavallaro, M. Christopher Barnhart, and W. Wyatt Hoback "Causes of Rapid Carrion Beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) Death in Flooded Pitfall Traps, Response to Soil Flooding, Immersion Tolerance, and Swimming Behavior," Environmental Entomology 46(2), 362-368, (24 January 2017).
Received: 2 August 2016; Accepted: 23 November 2016; Published: 24 January 2017

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.

American burying beetle
respiration physiology
Get copyright permission
Back to Top