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The Undertaker

 
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:19 am    Post subject: The Undertaker Reply with quote

Nature's undertakers include the Burying Beetles (Fam: Silphidae). This is Nicrophorus sp. possibly N. orbicollis; length 17mm.

Why the common name? The adults (females only?) dig the soil out from beneath a small dead vertebrate, mice and voles are favourites, so that the animal falls into the hole and is then covered with soil. Eggs are laid on the corpse. This behaviour is believed to be a way to 'protect' the corpses from being eaten by fly larvae. The beetle larvae feed on the dead host.

Botton image is an actual 800 pixel crop.
The various body parts on this beetle would give enough material to keep me busy, photographically, for several days.

105/2.8 MF Micro Nikkor @ f/8. Stack of 44 fine JPG frames. Very little cropping top and sides.



_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18237
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are beautiful beetles, and this photo is a real treat! Usually I see Nicrophorus only in dark pits and from a distance of several feet.

I have long been curious about the spelling of the name, see this discussion, for example. Do you happen to know how the "i" in Nicrophorus came about?

--Rik
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rik.
I have the recent 105 AF Micro Nikkor but my old 105 MF that goes only ro 1:2 seems to me to be a sharper lens @ f/8 but I haven't really done a scientific-type comparison.

American Beetles says Nicrophorus
An article in Psyche quotes Herman 1964:

Lawrence, J. F. & A. F. Newton, Jr. 1995. Families and subfamilies of Coleoptera (with selected genera, notes, references and data on family-group names), pp. 779-1006. In: Pakaluk, J. & S. A. Slipinski (Eds.). Biology, Phylogeny, and Classification of Coleoptera. Papers Celebrating the 80th Birthday of Roy A. Crowson. Muzeum I Instytut Zoologii PAN, Warszawa.

This sequence is followed in the new reference: American Beetles , vols. 1 and 2)


Nicrophorus orbicollis (Say, 1825)


152 Psyche [vo~. 89
Herman (1964) has shown that the correct spelling of the genus of the sexton or burying beetles is Nicrophorus Fabricius, 1775, and not Necrophorus Thunberg, 1789 (see Madge, 1980).

HERMANL,. H., JR.
1964. Nomenclatural consideration of Nicrophorus (Coleoptera: Silphidae).
Coleop. Bull., 18: 5-6.
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

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Olympus microscope and objectives
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the etymology of "Nicrophorus"? Or was it a lapsus calami in the original description?

Harold
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2530
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold Gough wrote:
What is the etymology of "Nicrophorus"?
Harold

Short answer "I don't know".
How would one determine what Fabricius' thoughts were 234 years ago?
_________________
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the basis that my Latin dictionary has no words beginning with 'nic', except the one meaning to wink, either Fabricius was having a jest or his quill slipped! Very Happy

Necrophorus, I believe, means something like travelling towards the dead, which fits the ecology.

Unfortunately, the rules of precidence dictate! Rolling Eyes

Harold
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