Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Fall 2011):131-43


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Surveys for the American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus Olivier (Silphidae), between 2001 and 2010 in Nebraska resulted in 11 new county records for this endangered species and 465 new county records for 14 other silphid species. A total of 5,212 American burying beetles were captured in more than 1,500 different locations. Using mark-recapture data, we estimated the population size of the American burying beetle (ABB) for six counties in the Sandhills. Blaine County (2003) had the largest population, with an estimated 56 ABBs per km2 (1,338 ± 272 ABBs). The remaining estimates were between 2 and 36 ABBs per km2, which were calculated for Loup (2010) and Holt (2010) Counties, respectively. We calculated movement distances, finding that some American burying beetles moved as far as 7.24 km in a single night. This new information greatly contributes to efforts to conserve the American burying beetle in the Great Plains and provides knowledge about other silphid species distributions, which may play a role in recovery of the American burying beetle.