The body snatchers of the underworld
To feed their children, Nicrphorus the investigator and his wife excavates the soil beneath dead bodies so that they sink into the ground and drop into their pantry. However, these undertakers will always examine the condition of the carcass before the burial takes place.
These unsuspecting grave diggers (Saxton beetles) have bulbous orange-tipped antennae’s that are sensitive to the decaying bodies of small birds and mammals and they will fly a mile or so to find carrion before carrying out their gruesome task.
Despite their gory lifestyle, Mrs Nicrphorus is a good mother and will lay her eggs beside the decaying flesh so her young can feed on it for a whole year. She will also stay with them the entire time.
Just recently, whilst out walking, I bumped into Nicrophorus the investigator and asked him what on earth was he carrying on his back. He told me that the tiny cheeky mites hitch a lift on his body because they know he will take them to a supply of food and somewhere where they can also lay their eggs.
What a strange and wonderful world we live in. And to think, we have grave diggers and body snatchers right on our doorstep!