The Tulsa Zoo Conservation Program has a new partnership with Oklahoma State University (OSU) and American burying beetle (ABB) conservation. The American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) is a member of the carrion beetle family Silphidae, an important group of detritivores that recycle decaying materials into the ecosystem. The American burying beetle is the largest carrion-feeding insect in North America. Although it has historically been recorded from at least 150 counties in 35 states in the eastern and central United States, it declined from the 1920s to the 1960s and is currently only found at the peripheries of its former range. In 1983, the American burying beetle was included as an endangered species in the Invertebrate Red Book published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In the United States, it was placed on the state and federal endangered species lists in August 1989.
The Tulsa Zoo will be partnering with OSU and Dr. Wyatt Hoback, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma
The Tulsa Zoo will be supporting Dr. Hoback by establishing and maintaining a laboratory colony of ABB’s at the University to develop best practices for rearing and maintaining burying beetles. Our goal is to develop educational outreach, while eventually becoming a captive breeding program for the reintroduction of ABBs’ within the United States.