Image: Carrion Beetle, Ptomaphila perlata

Carrion Beetle, Ptomaphila perlata

Carrion Beetle Ptomaphila perlata with a maggot in its jaws.

Richard Major
© Australian Museum


Carrion beetles - Family Silphidae

Silphids are large carrion beetles that feed on both carrion and fly larvae. Although they often hide under a carcass, they can sometimes be seen wandering around the carcass with a maggot in their jaws. Even though adults have been recorded feeding on carrion, they cannot survive on it alone, and die if they do not have access to maggots. Like other beetles inhabiting carrion, they have fast larval development.

Ptomaphila perlata is a very common Australian carrion beetle found across the southern half of Australia. It has been found in a wide range of habitats including rainforest, woodland, heaths and even associated with beach-washed seabirds.

Adults are frequently seen feeding on maggots but they have not been observed feeding on pupae. The larvae appear to be carrion feeders only.


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