A recent study revealed how a type of beetle called “burial beetles” provides food for the young. According to the study, they perform strange behavior to secure food for their young ones, as they search for a dead rat or bird, dig a hole and bury it in it, get rid of its fur or its feathers, and damage it. Its flesh is ball-shaped and covered with a sticky substance, all to feed her future offspring, according to the study published in the journal American Nature.
The researchers, who expressed their surprise, confirmed that this sticky substance does more than just slow decomposition of food, as they confirmed that the substance also works to mask the smell of decomposing food, and helps the emergence of another odor, according to what was reported by the Russian agency Sputnik.
For his part, Stephen Trumbo, leader of the research team, said that the odor that the goop emits helps to hide future beetle resources from others and alienate competitors who might search for them.
Alexander Figueiredo, a biologist at the University of “Zurich” Switzerland, who was not involved in the new study, explained that “knowing these interactions is important to know how the beetles can face the fierce competition in the field of searching for corpses and using them to secure food.”“، The study confirmed that there is fierce competition between buried beetles, which use special antennas to detect remains from afar..
The study revealed that burial beetles are relatively large, measuring about an inch in length, and they are distinguished by their black color with orange markings, and the sticky gut secretions that they spread on the bodies are antibacterial, and slow down the decomposition, and the research team asked whether these secretions also prevent competitors from picking up the smell..
The researchers collected the gases emitted from dead, empty mice that were found by the burial beetle, and added the sticky substance to it, and compared it to that emitted from the bodies that were not touched by the beetles..
It turns out that carcasses prepared by beetles, give off a much smaller amount of the onion-smelling compound that usually attracts competitors, as well as an increase in another gas known to deter other insects that feed on dead animals..