Photo: Hallie Mason
Hallie Mason, who lives in the northeastern portion of Ohio, saw my last post on the American burying beetle and sent along this photo. She walked out of her house to see this epic struggle taking place in her driveway. We should all be so lucky!
It's another species of burying beetle, and it looks like a roundneck sexton beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis. I wrote about those last fall, HERE. The beetle has found an expired eastern mole and is grappling with the corpse in an effort to transport it to a suitable burial ground. Hallie reports: "I watched him valiantly move the carcass toward an area of dirt. I finally went to bed and when I arose the next day, there was no sign of either rodent or insect."
Keep in mind the mole probably weighed 50 grams or so - dozens of times more than the beetle! In the strength department, one of these bugs makes Arnold Schwarzenegger at his prime look like an anemic Richard Simmons. Proportionately, a burying beetle is far stronger than that, actually. For one of us to match the mole-toting feat, we'd probably have to do something like toss a full-sized telephone pole over each shoulder and run a hundred yard dash.
Thanks to Hallie for sharing her photo and story!