The American burying beetle, whose suitable habitat has declined to a handful of states, including isolated areas in eastern Oklahoma, is a “Critically Endangered” species under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
American burying beetles find and bury small animal carcasses, and use this ephemeral resource as food for their offspring. The carcasses are vital to their reproductive process, and it is thought that a lack of suitable carcasses has led to their dwindling population. Their ecological service, cycling back into the soil the nutrients locked within animal tissue, is an important one within our ecosystem. Without this service, rotting carcasses would be much more prevalent across our landscape.