Life after Death: The Ecology and Evolution of Burying Beetles

Date:
Venue:
The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
Organiser: events@linnean.org
0207 434 4479 ext 211

EVENING MEETING 18:00–19:00 Thursday 20 September 2018

Beetle
© Tom Houslay

Burying beetles are commonplace in European woodlands and fields. Although they are easily recognised by the bright orange patterning on their black wing covers, they are rarely seen because they are active at night and have a fondness for dead animals. As adults, they seek out the fresh corpse of a small vertebrate, like a bird or mammal. A pair will work together to strip off the fur or feathers. Together, they roll the flesh into a ball and bury it below ground where it becomes an edible nest for their larvae. Adults then provide care until their larvae are ready to pupate. This talk will explain how these remarkable insects are giving us new insights into how evolution works.

Rebecca Kilner is Professor of Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. Her research investigates how behaviour influences evolution.


  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Registration is essential. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Doors will open at 17:30.
  • Tea will be served in the Library from 17:30 and the event will be followed by a white wine reception.