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Dept. of Unusual Jobs [Jul. 19th, 2008|09:04 am]
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Bob Merz was appointed the North American Regional Studbook Keeper for the American Burying Beetle by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  This document will maintain a genetic record of the beetle populations held in North America.

Did you know beetles had studbooks?  I didn't.   But if the population's very small, and you're trying to bring it back and maintain all the available genetic diversity, I guess you'd need one. 

The beetle in question, in case you're suddenly struck with unbearable curiosity, has the scientific name of
Nicrophorus americanus.,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12204-32983--,00.html

I'm now on the lookout for this handsome beetle (but don't expect to find it here.  It needs a regular supply of corpses to bury.)


[User Picture]From: kimuro
2008-07-19 02:16 pm (UTC)
how ... bizarre! No. I would never have imagined that beetles have studbooks.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-07-19 02:41 pm (UTC)
Me, neither. It seem like the sort of thing Terry Pratchitt would come up with.

It's fun to discover things like this.
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[User Picture]From: liveavatar
2008-07-19 05:56 pm (UTC)
Now I have to track him down and prettily ask him to send me a business card. Because I could look at that job title all day.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-07-19 06:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it's on his business card. His official title at the St. Louis Zoo is something else. He may use that part only when corresponding with the institutions that are doing captive rearing of the beetle.

It's quite a pretty beetle, I think. I wish we had some.

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From: sunfell
2008-07-19 11:02 pm (UTC)
Wow- what a beautiful beetle. Oddly enough, I think we have them around here- I remember seeing them swarming around a carcass of a dead bird in my dad's back yard. It was that little mark on their thorax that I remembered, and I wondered what sort of beetle they were. That was over a decade ago, but his back yard is relatively serene (he isn't a huge 'yard' person) so it is possible that there still might be some around.

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-07-19 11:16 pm (UTC)
If you see some around, you might want to let one of the experts know, esp. if you're outside the areas where they're known to survive.

I haven't seen one like that here--the beetles in our dead stuff are solid black, or brown, and they zip down their holes really fast if I move a carcass. There are some old Texas records, but not from here.
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