Aposematism in the burying beetle? Dual function of anal fluid in parental care and chemical defense

Carita Lindstedt, Giuseppe Boncoraglio, Sheena Cotter, James Gilbert & Rebecca Kilner
Burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides) bear distinctive and variable orange-black patterning on their elytra and produce an anal exudate from their abdomen when threatened. During breeding, the anal exudates contribute to the antimicrobial defence of the breeding resource. We investigated whether the anal exudates also provide a responsive chemical defence, which is advertised to potential avian predators by the beetle’s orange and black elytral markings. We found that that the orange-black elytral markings of the burying...
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