A sexton beetle on a dead greenfinch

Sexton beetles

Sexton beetles are the undertakers of the beetle world. They are attracted to the corpses of small mammals and birds by sulphur chemicals given off during decay. Once a pair of beetles have taken possession of a body - sometimes fighting off other pairs to do so - they will bury it, by digging away at the soil underneath. They then use the buried body as both home and food for their larvae.

Scientific name: Nicrophorus

Rank: Genus

Common names:

Burying beetles

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The Sexton beetles can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Arthropods
  4. Insects
  5. Beetles
  6. Silphidae
  7. Sexton beetles

BBC News about Sexton beetles

  • Insects make food germ-free Scientists confirm that burying beetles coat their young's food with an antibacterial substance to guarantee their survival.

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