Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2003


Published in Great Plains Research 13 (Spring 2003): 127-38. Copyright © 2003 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


The American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus Olivier) is the only insect found in Nebraska currently on the federal endangered species list. I conducted surveys in 1995, 1996, and 1998 to determine range and population size of the American burying beetle in south-central Nebraska, A total of 826 individuals were captured during these three years, A Sequential Bayes Algorithm was used to estimate population size based on mark and recapture data. Results from this study and other studies identify the range of this population in south-central Nebraska as an approximately 4,500 km2 area located south of the Platte River in Gosper, Frontier, Dawson, and Lincoln counties. Mark and recapture data from 1998 indicate the population size within this area is greater than 3,000 individuals. This exceeds the recovery goal of 500 individuals/population established by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and as such, along with populations in Oklahoma and Arkansas, also meets the recovery goal of three separate populations of that size within the Midwest Geographic Recovery Area for the species as identified in the Recovery Plan.