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American Burying Beetles Find a Home in Missouri

This female American burying beetle was discovered this year and is one of the first offspring of reintroduced beetles in Missouri from 2012. She’s also believed to be the first overwintering offspring of reintroduced beetles in mainland North America. (Courtesy photo by Art Leverenz, St. Louis Zoo)
This female American burying beetle was discovered this year and is one of the first offspring of reintroduced beetles in Missouri from 2012. She’s also believed to be the first overwintering offspring of reintroduced beetles in mainland North America. (Courtesy photo by Art Leverenz, St. Louis Zoo)

By Scott Hamilton
Columbia Ecological Services Field Office, Missouri

Efforts to bring the endangered American burying beetle back to Missouri got a double boost this spring.  For the second time in as many years, the Service and our partners reintroduced the colorful beetle at Wah-kon-tah Prairie in the southwest part of the state.

Partners including the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and the Service’s Columbia Ecological Services Field Office released more than 300 pairs of adult beetles in holes with bird carcasses that serve as a food source for larvae.

Last year’s release was deemed a success, and this year, just before the 2013 reintroduction, surveyors found an unexpected bonus: an unmarked adult female.  The fact that this beetle’s wings were not notched indicates she is the offspring of one of the beetles reintroduced in 2012.  She is believed to be the first offspring of reintroduced American burying beetles to overwinter in mainland North America.

All in all, it’s been a good couple of years for American burying beetles and the partners working to recover them. 

Find out more and view a slide show of the 2012 reintroduction at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/ambb/mo2012release.html

 

 

 

Last updated: June 28, 2013