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Silphidae is a family of beetles, commonly known as (black) carrion beetles or burying beetles, comprising about 200 species. Many species are carnivorous, although some are carrion-feeders.

The genera Phosphuga, Ablattaria and Silpha are mainly snail hunters. They spray digestive fluid into the snail-shell, and afterwards they suck the prey out of its shell. A very widely distributed European species is Phosphuga atrata.

The carrion beetles of the genus Dendroxena (junior synonym Xylodrepa) hunt caterpillars, while Aclypea (junior synonym Blitophaga) are considered as pests, because they feed on garden plants.

The best-known members of the family are the burying beetles (Nicrophorus Fabricius, 1775), which are carrion-eating beetles.

Important works


  • G. V. Portevin (1926). "Les grands necrophages du globe: Silphini - Necrodini - Necrophorini". Encyclo. Ent. 6 1–270.

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