Professor (Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrion-frequenting beetles come to carcasses at particular stages of decomposition (ecological succession) attracted by cues from microbes (semiochemicals). We are investigating whether the successional pattern can be explained by the changing profile of microbially-derived cues and whether the presence of microbes enhances or inhibits the use of carrion by invertebrate scavengers. We are intrigued by the roles of two sulfur-based compounds that have received limited study to date: methyl thiocyanate, which helps burying beetles find a fresh carcass, and methyl thiolacetate, which enhances the attractiveness of dimethyl trisulfide for beetles seeking a carcass in active decay.
Microbiology of carcass preparation
Nicrophorus pustulatus as a parasitoid of snakes
Charabidze, D., Trumbo, S.T., Grzywacz, A., Costa, J.T., Benbow, M.E., Barton, P.S. & Matuszewski, S, 2021. Convergence of social strategies in carrion breeding insects. "Bioscience" https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab068
Trumbo, S.T. 2021. Beetle parents manipulate information broadcast from bacteria in a rotting corpse. The Conversation January 26, 2021. https://theconversation.com/beetle-parents-manipulate-information-broadcast-from-bacteria-in-a-rotting-corpse-151447
Trumbo, S.T. & Klassen, J. 2020. Editorial overview: hidden players: microbes reshape the insect niche. Current Opinion in Insect Science 39: vi-ix. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cois.2020.05.008
Trumbo, S.T. 2019. The physiology of insect families: A door to the study of social evolution. Advances in Insect Physiology 56: 203-250. download: https://authors.elsevier.com/b/1Z41BErzK7yJs DOI: 10.1016/bs.aiip.2019.02.002.
Machado, G. & Trumbo, S.T. 2018. Parental care. In: Insect Behavior: From Mechanisms to Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences (eds., Cordoba-Aguilar, A., Gonzalez-Tokman, D. & Gonzalez-Santoyo, I.), pp. 203-218. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Trumbo, S.T. 2018. Juvenile hormone and parental care in insects: implications for the role of juvenile hormone in the evolution of sociality. Current Opinion in Insect Science 28:13-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2018.04.001.
Trumbo, S.T. 2013. Maternal care, iteroparity and the evolution of social behavior: a critique of the semelparity hypothesis. Evolutionary Biology 40:613-626. DOI: 10.1007/s11692-013-9237-4.
Trumbo, S.T. 2012. Patterns of parental care in invertebrates. In: The Evolution of Parental Care (eds., Royle, N.J., Smiseth, P.T., Kölliker, M), pp.81-100. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Trumbo, S.T. 2007. Can the challenge hypothesis be applied to insects? Hormones and Behavior 51: 281-285.
Trumbo, S.T. 2002. Hormonal regulation of parental behavior in insects. In: Hormones, Brain and Behavior, Volume 3 (eds., Pfaff, D.W., Arnold, A.P., Etgen, A.M., Fahrbach, S.E., Moss, R.L., Rubin, R.R.), pp. 115-139. Academic Press, New York.
Trumbo, S.T. 1999. Using integrative biology to explore constraints on evolution. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 14: 5-6.
Trumbo, S.T. 1997. Juvenile hormone-mediated reproduction in burying beetles: from behavior to physiology. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 35: 479-490.
Trumbo, S.T. 1996. Parental care in invertebrates. Advances in the Study of Behavior 25: 3-51.
Trumbo, S.T. & Sikes, D.S. 2021. Resource concealment and the evolution of parental care in burying beetles. "Journal of Zoology" https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12916
Trumbo, S.T., Philbrick, P.K.B., Stokl, J. & Steiger, S. 2021. Burying beetles adaptively manipulate information broadcast from a microbial community. The American Naturalist 197: 366-378. DOI: 10.1086/712602
Trumbo, S.T. & Dicapua, J.A. III. 2021. A synergism between dimethyl trisulfide and methyl thiolacetate in attracting carrion-frequenting beetles demonstrated by use of a chemically-supplemented minimal trap. Chemoecology 31:79-87. doi- org.ezproxy.lib.uconn.edu/10.1007/s00049-020-00330-4
Trumbo, S.T. & Steiger, S. 2020. Finding a fresh carcass: Bacterially-derived volatiles and burying beetle search success. Chemoecology 30: 287-296. DOI 10.1007/s00049-020-00318-0
Capodeanu-Nagler, A., Madlen, A.P., Trumbo, S.T., Vogel, H., Eggert, A.-K., Sakaluk, S.K. & Steiger, S. 2018. Offspring dependence on parental care and the role of parental transfer of oral fluids in burying beetles. Frontiers in Zoology 15: 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12983-018-0278-5.
Trumbo, S.T. 2017. Feeding upon and preserving a carcass: the function of prehatch parental care in a burying beetle. Animal Behaviour 130:241-249. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.07.001.
Trumbo, S.T., Sikes, D.S. & Philbrick, P.K.B. 2016. Parental care and competition with microbes in carrion beetles: a study of ecological adaptation. Animal Behaviour 118: 47-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.06.001
Sikes, D.S., Trumbo, S.T. & Peck, S.B. 2016. Cryptic diversity in the New World burying beetle fauna: Nicrophorus hebes Kirby, 1837; new status as a resurrected name (Coleoptera: Silphidae: Nicrophorinae). Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 74:299-309.
Trumbo, S.T. 2016. Carcass age and reproductive costs for Nicrophorus orbicollis. Environmental Entomology 45: 1178-1183. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvw114
Trumbo, S.T. 2016. The fate of mouse carcasses in a northern woodland. Ecological Entomology 41: 737-740. DOI: 10.1111/een.12341
Trumbo, S.T. & Xhihani, E. 2015. Mass-size relationships, starvation and recovery in an engorging feeder. Physiological Entomology 40: 257-263. DOI: 10.1111/phen.12110
Trumbo, S.T. & Xhihani, E. 2015. Influences of parental care and food deprivation on regulation of body mass in a burying beetle. Ethology 121: 985-993. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12413
Trumbo, S.T. and Rauter, C.M. 2014. Juvenile hormone, metabolic rate, body mass and longevity costs in parenting burying beetles. Animal Behaviour 92: 203-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.04.004.
Trumbo, S.T. 2012. Contest behavior and other reproductive efforts in aging breeders: a test of residual reproductive value and state-dependent models. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 1511-1518. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1406-4.
Trumbo, S.T. 2009. Age-related reproductive performance in the parental burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis. Behavioral Ecology 20: 951-956.
Trumbo, S.T. 2009. Naturalist at Large: From Gravedigger to Assassin. Natural History September 24-25.
Sikes, D.S., Vamosi, S.M., Trumbo, S.T., Ricketts, M. and Venables, C. 2008. Molecular systematics and biogeography of Nicrophorus in part - the investigator species group (Coleoptera: Silphidae) using mixture model MCMC. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 646-666.
Trumbo, S.T. & Robinson, G.E. 2008. Social and nonsocial stimuli and juvenile hormone titer in a male burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis. Journal of Insect Physiology 54: 630-635.
Smith, G., Trumbo, S.T., Sikes, D.S., Scott, M.P. & Smith, R.L. 2007. Host shift by the burying beetle, Nicrophorus pustulatus, a parasitoid of snake eggs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 2389-2399.
Trumbo, S.T. 2007. Defending young biparentally: female risk-taking with and without a male in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus pustulatus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61: 1717-1723.
Trumbo, S.T. & Valletta, R.C. 2007. The costs of confronting infanticidal intruders in a burying beetle. Ethology 113: 386-393.
Sikes, D.S., Madge, R.B. & Trumbo, S.T. 2006. Revision of Nicrophorus in part: new species and inferred phylogeny of the nepalensis-group based on evidence from morphology and mitochondrial DNA (Coleoptera: Silphidae: Nicrophorinae). Invertebrate Systematics 20: 305-366.
Trumbo, S.T. 2006. Infanticide, sexual selection and task specialization in a biparental burying beetle. Animal Behaviour 72: 1159-1167.
Suzuki, S., Nagano, M. & Trumbo, S.T. 2005. Intrasexual competition and mating behavior in Ptomascopus morio (Coleoptera: Silphidae: Nicrophorinae). Journal of Insect Behavior 18: 233-242.
Trumbo, S.T. & Robinson, G.E. 2004. Nutrition, hormones and life history in burying beetles. Journal of Insect Physiology 50: 383-391.
Trumbo, S.T. & Bloch, P.L. 2002. Competition between Nicrophorus orbicollis and Nicrophorus defodiens: resource locating efficiency and temporal partitioning. Northeastern Naturalist 9: 13-26.
Trumbo, S.T., Kon, M. & Sikes, D.S. 2001. The reproductive biology of Ptomascopus morio, a brood parasite of Nicrophorus . Journal of Zoology, London 255: 543-560.
Scott. M.P., Trumbo, S.T., Neese, P.A., Bailey, W.D. & Roe, R.M. 2001. Changes in biosynthesis and degradation of juvenile hormone during breeding by burying beetles: a reproductive or social role? Journal of Insect Physiology 47: 295-302.
Trumbo, S.T. & Bloch, P.L. 2000. Habitat fragmentation and burying beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) communities. Journal of Insect Conservation 4: 245-252 .
Trumbo, S.T. & Sikes, D.S. 2000. Sexual selection and leg morphology in Nicrophorus orbicollis and Ptomascopus morio. Entomological Science 3: 585-590.
Trumbo, S.T. & Thomas, S. 1998. Burying beetles of the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin: species diversity, population density and body size. Great Lakes Entomologist 31: 85-95.
Trumbo, S.T., Huang, Z-Y. & Robinson, G.E. 1997. Division of labor between undertaker specialists and other middle-age honey bees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 41: 151-163.
Trumbo, S.T. & Robinson, G.E. 1997. Learning and task interference by undertaking specialists in honey bee colonies. Ethology 103: 966-975.
Trumbo, S.T., Borst, D.W. & Robinson, G.E. 1995. Rapid elevation of JH titre during behavioural assessment of the breeding resource by the burying beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis. Journal of Insect Physiology 41: 535-543.
Trumbo, S.T. & Fernandez, A.G. 1995. Regulation of brood size by male parents and cues employed to assess resource size by burying beetles. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 7: 313-322.
Trumbo, S.T. 1995. Nesting failure in burying beetles and the origin of communal associations. Evolutionary Ecology 9: 125-130.
Trumbo, S.T. & Fiore, A.J. 1994. Interspecific competition and the evolution of communal breeding in burying beetles. American Midland Naturalist 131: 169-174.
Trumbo, S.T. 1994. Interspecific competition, brood parasitism, and the evolution of biparental cooperation in burying beetles. Oikos 69: 241-249.
Trumbo, S.T. & Eggert, A.-K. 1994. Beyond monogamy: territory quality influences sexual advertisement in male burying beetles. Animal Behaviour 48: 1043-1047.
Trumbo, S.T. & Wilson, D.S. 1993. Brood discrimination, nestmate discrimination and determinants of social behavior in facultatively quasisocial beetles (Nicrophorus spp.). Behavioral Ecology 4: 332-339.
Trumbo, S.T. 1992. Monogamy to communal breeding: exploitation of a broad resource base in burying beetles (Silphidae: Nicrophorus). Ecological Entomology 17: 289-297.
Trumbo, S.T. 1991. Reproductive benefits and the duration of paternal care in a biparental burying beetle, Necrophorus orbicollis. Behaviour 117: 82-105.
Trumbo, S.T. & Fiore, A.J. 1991. A genetic marker for investigating paternity and maternity in the burying beetle Nicrophorus orbicollis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) . Journal of the New York Entomological Society 99: 637-642.
Trumbo, S.T. 1990. Interference competition among burying beetles (Silphidae, Nicrophorus). Ecological Entomology 15: 347-355.
Trumbo, S.T. 1990. Reproductive benefits of infanticide in a biparental burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 27: 269-273.
Trumbo, S.T. 1990. Reproductive success, phenology and biogeography of burying beetles (Silphidae, Nicrophorus). American Midland Naturalist 124: 1-11.
Trumbo, S.T. 1990. Regulation of brood size in a burying beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus (Silphidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 3: 491-500.
Trumbo, S.T., Smith, G., Sikes, D.S. 2005. Number vs. body size of offspring in biparental burying beetles. In: Learning the Skills of Research: Animal Behavior Exercises in the Laboratory and Field (eds., Jakob, E.M. & Hodge, M.). Compact Disc. Sinauer, New York (2nd edition, 2009).
Trumbo, S.T. 2000. Introducing students to the genetic information age. The American Biology Teacher 62: 259-261.
Trumbo, S.T. 1996. The role of conflict in breeding systems: burying beetles as experimental organisms. The American Biology Teacher 58: 118-121.
Images of burying beetles
All images of beetles on this webpage may be used for noncommercial educational purposes. Click on thumbnail for higher resolution image.
Video of burying beetles
From Our Lab: Video from our lab may be used for noncommercial educational purposes.
Burying beetles preparing a mouse carcass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klpnnUENbxA
Parental care and brood reduction in Nicrophorus orbicollis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRarHKpOf_8
Nicrophorus pustulatus exploiting a snake egg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy2vxstcWiQ
Infanticidal takeover of a carcass http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ9fFslNx_E&NR=1
National Geographic Wild https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9iZvsClC10
Theatrical view of burying beetles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enazNu0YgPs
National Geographic view of burying beetles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUOPx1q5bjk
American Burying Beetle - Saint Louis Zoo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H75rJGLaSNk
Tracking the American Burying Beetle - Saint Louis Zoo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPJRu-celQ0
Time lapse video of the burial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwcvYEqxfEg
Websites & Links
Sikes, D. S., S. T. Trumbo, S. B. Peck. 1999. Nicrophorus Central https://web.archive.org/web/20050310225611/http://collections2.eeb.uconn.edu/nicroweb/nicrophorus.htm A website developed by Derek Sikes for all things nicrophorine
Sikes, D. S., S. T. Trumbo, S. B. Peck. 2005. Silphidae node on the Tree of Life http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Silphidae Created by Derek Sikes
BugGuide of Nicrophorus Iowa State University Entomology
Hoback, W.W., Snethen, D.G., Brust, M.L. http://www.lopers.net/student_org/NebraskaInverts/cbeetles/Genera/nicrophorus/home.htm
Carrion Beetles of Nebraska developed at the University of Nebraska at Kearney
Office: Waterbury 307 / TLS 83
Voice: (203) 236-9878
Fax: (203) 236-9805
Mailing address (1):
Department of EEB
99 E. Main St.
Waterbury, CT 06702
Mailing address (2):
Department of EEB
75 N. Eagleville Road, U-3043
Storrs, CT 06269