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Rhode Island State Insect

Rhode Island State Insect

Rhode Island’s state insect is the American burying beetle. Did that name get your attention?

The American burying beetle is a type of carrion beetle. In fact, it’s the largest carrion-frequenting insect in North America, growing to a length of 1 1/2 inches.

Many people may consider scavengers gross, but think about how gross life would be without them.

In fact, the American burying beetle is a rather fascinating creature. If a mouse dies, a burying beetle two miles away can smell it and fly to it within an hour. A pair of burying beetles will then move it to a special location and bury it, protecting it from other scavengers.

Burying beetles even exhibit parental care, rare among insects other than the social insects (bees, wasps, ants and termites).

The American burying beetle originally ranged throughout eastern North America. However, it experienced a great decline in the 20th century. At one point, it was known to survive in just six states—South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Rhode Island.

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