Back From The Brink, American Burying Beetle

1990s CEMidwestern US, Texas and Rhode Island

“There are 15 species of burying beetles in North America, but only the ABB (American Burying Beetle), has experienced a drastic decline in population. In the 19th century, ABB populations covered the entire eastern half of the United States and neighboring Canadian provinces.”  The prevailing theory for the decline involves habitat loss and a significantly reduced carried food-base. “In the early 1990s, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) initiated a project to capture ABB mating pairs from Block Island and attempt to rear them in captivity...Known as nature's most efficient and fascinating recyclers, these burying beetles are important scavengers that recycle decaying animals back into the ecosystem....This beetle and other invertebrate species act as ‘indicator species,' alerting scientists about the health of the environment.”  The American Burying Beetle remains critically endangered. 

“American Burying Beetle Repopulation Project”, Roger Williams Park Zoo, <>

Courtesy of Mark Dumont <>