Silphidae (Carrion Beetles) in Bedfordshire

This is a new page to hold information on recording Silphidae in the county of Bedfordshire, vc30.

With the recent launch of a national recording scheme for this group of beetles (which covers carrion, burying and sexton beetles & relatives), it is intended to encourage the sending in of records to this scheme. These are a small group of 21 large beetles that are particularly associated with carrion. The species in the genus Nicrophorus are either black or red and black and several of these beetles regularly turn up in moth traps so it would be good to capture these records. It is worth noting that the Nicrophorinae often have mites on them and do have a foul smell but don't let this put you off identifying them.

The suggested way of sending in records is by using the on-line recording system iRecord either by using the website or by downloading the iRecord app to a Smartphone and entering your records there. I would encourage all to add at least one photograph to your record on iRecord as that assists the record verifiers in their assessment of your record(s).

Here are some tips on what to photograph to make sure you have all the needed identification features:-
For the Nicrophorinae (burying beetles mostly with the orange markings) - antennae colour, hairs on the abdomen and thorax, elytral (wing cases) markings, hind leg shape.
For the Silphinae - Ridges on the elytra, shiny or dull elytra & shape of the pronotum
Remember you can upload more than one photo to iRecord

Below are web links to the recording scheme and iRecord and also a downloadable pdf key to the id of the Silphidae of the UK and a list of the species currently recorded in Bedfordshire.

List of Silphidae recorded in Bedfordshire (to late 2016):-

Thanatophilus rugosus



Thanatophilus sinuatus


Oiceoptoma thoracicum


Dendroxena quadrimaculata


Silpha atrata


Silpha laevigata


Silpha tristis


Nicrophorus humator


Nicrophorus interruptus


Nicrophorus investigator


Nicrophorus vespillo


Nicrophorus vespilloides


Nicrophorus vestigator


 Nicrophorus humator in a moth trap (photo by Andy Banthorpe)

some more photos of silphidae:-

Nicrophorus investigator (photos by Alan Outen)

Nicrophorus vespilloides (photos by Keith Balmer)


Silpha atrata (photos by Alan Outen & Keith Balmer)

Silpha laevigata (photos by Keith Balmer)

Thanatophilus sinuatus (photos by Alan Outen)

Oiceoptoma thoracicum (photos by Andy Banthorpe & Alan Outen)

Andy Banthorpe
November 2018