BURYING BEETLE BASICS
• An Ohio & Federal endangered species
• Habitat generalist relying on carrion for food
• Largest carrion-frequenting beetle in North America (up to 1.5 inches long)
• Reintroduction began in southern Ohio in 1998
The state and federally endangered American burying beetle is a habitat generalist with a slight preference for grasslands and the open understory of oak-hickory forests. Once found throughout Ohio, the species was last reported from Hocking County in 1974. In 1998, this species was reintroduced in Ohio. A total of 102 wild-caught beetles from Arkansas were released from 1998-2000. While no releases occurred during 2001 and 2002, intensive pitfall trapping surveys occurred to locate previously released beetles. A captive colony of beetles, representing only the second in the country, was established with our Ohio State University (OSU) partners in 2002. In July 2011, 171 pairs were released at one location and an additional 60 pairs were released at a second site in Southeastern Ohio. Captively-reared beetles were supplied from the St. Louis Zoo and The Wilds colonies for both releases.
Survey details and historical data can be found in the Forest Wildlife Overview section of the Wildlife Population Status and Hunting Forecast.