Interspecific competition effects on survival of American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus Olivier) in eastern Oklahoma
Small carrion is a short-lived, high-quality resource to many specialized insects. The competition for this valuable resource is strong and has probably shaped many ecological, behavioral, and physiological traits of the associated insects. Not only do the burying beetles compete with insects, they must also compete with vertebrate scavengers.
In southeastern Oklahoma, the ABB compete directly or indirectly with many other insect species. After two years of sampling in this region, the four most abundant other insect species trapped in conjunction with the ABB were the red-lined carrion beetle Necrodes surinamensis, the congener Nicrophorus orbicollis, the ridged carrion beetle Oiceoptoma inaequale, and the beetle Euspilotus assimilis from the Family Histeridae.
We completed 2400 trap-nights using 170 above-ground pitfall traps that were placed in seven separate areas within Pittsburg and Hughes counties in southeastern Oklahoma. Preliminary results based on flight times and capture data indicate that the strongest competitor for reproductive resources is the congener N. orbicollis.