Australian Devil's Coach Horse

The Field Museum

The Field Museum

The Australian Devil's Coach Horse, Creophilus erythrocephalus (Fabricius, 1775), is a large rove beetle (family Staphylinidae) that occurs all over its native Australia. It also is found in South America and New Caledonia, where it apparently was introduced accidentally. Like other members of the genus Creophilus, these beetles are found mostly in association with carrion or other rotting materials where they feed on maggots (fly larvae) or other insects. It belongs to the Southern Hemisphere erythrocephalus species group, whose species have partly or entirely red or orange heads. In contrast, the members of the maxillosus species group, found in the Northern Hemisphere, have black heads.

The Field Museum has over 200 specimens of this species among the roughly 700,000 rove beetles in the pinned insect collection. This specimen and its photo are on display in the museum's DNA Discovery Center exhibit. Post-doctoral researcher Alexey Solodovnikov sequenced DNA of this species in the Pritzker Lab and Ph.D. student Dave Clarke (University of Illinois at Chicago) studied its morphology as part of his comprehensive study of the genus Creophilus

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  • Title: Australian Devil's Coach Horse
  • Location: Chile
  • Type: Preserved Specimen
  • Original Source: More object information
  • Rights: (c) Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC