Burying beetles conceal small vertebrate carcasses underground and prepare them for consumption by their young. This review places their complex social behavior in an ecological context that focuses on the evolution of biparental care and communal breeding. Both males and females provide extensive parental care, and the major benefit of male assistance is to help defend the brood and carcass from competitors. As intensity and type of competition vary, so do the effectiveness and duration of male care. In many species, a single brood may be reared on large carcasses by more than one male and/or female. Limited reproductive opportunities, the greater effectiveness of groups in preventing the probability of brood failure (especially that caused by competing flies), and the superabundance of food on large carcasses have contributed to the evolution of this cooperative behavior.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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