Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bug


Bug in container
Bug in container  
I found this black bug on my driveway one day and thought it was very strange. I went to pick it up and it rolled up into a ball like a pill bug. I thought it was just a strange black large pill bug, but after searching on the Internet, apparently pill bugs have many more legs. This insect only has 6 legs and basically drags its back half everywhere. The six legs are in the front of the body so the back half gets zero lift above the ground. I really want to know what this bug is.

Dear Jared - This is a larva of a beetle in the family Silphidae, see http://tinyurl.com/nvkyr82 for an example. Commonly known as burying beetles, carrion beetles, or sexton beetles, they perform a valuable service by recycling the carcasses of small birds and mammals. Some species even exhibit a fair amount of parental care during the development of their larvae. See http://tinyurl.com/ojr3l8a for more detailed information.  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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