Monday, November 29, 2010

Deer Decomposition

I was going to skip documenting this deer, and I am not doing a series like that last time, but Doug's comment about beetles made me go back and take a closer look.

I found beetles romantically involved among the bones, skin, and hair of the unfortunate deer.

This carrion beetle popped up for only a moment and then it was back to work in the sand beneath the carcass.
I was amazed at how fast this deer was reduced in volume. We had about two days of stink, one day with vultures, and then no real sign of it, unless you waded through the brush to get to it.
I suppose the vultures did the heavy lifting here since there were about 50 of them in the surrounding oaks when the deer was first spotted.

They left their calling card beneath those oaks.
Oh, it's a wild ride these atoms take, from soil to plants to deer to vulture to soil to plants ...

Icky video below: A ground level FLY -through (whacka, whacka) of the deer carcass.


lisa said...

I think I could of done without this particular view point :)

cndymkr / jean said...

Now this is why I love coming here! You never know what you might get to see. I didn't think it was icky at all, just very interesting. Thanks.

Sandcastle Momma said...

You are a sick individual FC.
That video was just gross LOL

swamp4me said...

I'm watching a black bear decompose. So far it has been surprisingly slow going. I expect that will change over the next couple of days as our temps rise to 70 or so.

Sayre said...

Amazing how fast it goes from deer to bones and beetles! Neat video too!

Anonymous said...

When I die, just put me under the brush pile out back.


Prem Subrahmanyam said...

I have always wondered if decomposing carcass tastes 'good' to a vulture, or if they just endure the taste/smell for an easy meal.


Dani said...

FC, here is the web site for Hanger Prosthetics. Your dad will need a script for a new brace from his doc. then he can look about ditchin' that old one.

Thunder Dave said...

I just wanted to let you know that I finally posted some more appetizing photos from Thanksgiving.

debbie said...

OK, that was gross.


EEEEeeeeeeeeew! I cannot watch the video...I cannot watch the video....

Aunty Belle said...

ah...ya know.....

this is REALLY a boy thing.

Doug Taron said...

Thanks for thinking of me. The all black ones in the second photo are in the genus Oiceoptoma, probably Oiceoptoma inaequale. The handsome red and black one is in the genus Nicrophorus. In the video, the fairly fast dark one with light markings at about the 3 minute mark is a hairy rove beetle, Creophilus maxillosus.

I'm always struck at the degree to which a decomposing carcass is an ecosystem. In addition to the obvious decomposers, there are predators, prey, and parasites. The carcass undergoes a kind of ecological succession as the decomposition progresses.

Floridacracker said...

LOL! Recycling.

Thanks! I like to keep you guessing!

You may be right. I think I'm catching a cold.

A bear? Wow. Lots of material there.

True! It barely had time to stink!

No rush!

Heh, it must be an acquired taste.

Thanks! I checked and there are several of those near him in Jax.
Thanks again!

I'm sure it was delicious!

Okay, you're right!

Secret Pepper,
I understand. Kinda buzzy icky.

Ah, you know ... you are SUCH a girl!

Thanks for the ID's, I knew you'd pop in and take care of that for me.
A carcass really is a system,temporary though it may be.

amarkonmywall said...

Well, then. Makes me think it would be a fine thing to just pitch the turkey carcass out the back door.

Floridacracker said...

I think your bears would prefer you just place it on your porch.

Freste said...

At around 1:46, I think something flew into my ear, buzzed around, got stuck or rested, then walked around a bit. It doesn't seem to want to come out.

SophieMae said...

Can't you just hear the beEtles love songs? 'Come fly with me, we'll honeymoon in the ribs...'

Liked your blimp pic. It flew over our place last year and I had a similar experience finally getting that one parting shot. Pretty cool stuff.

Keep an eye on that sweetgum. They're a bit like blackberries. One sweetgum DOTH a forest make. 8-]

MyFUNFlorida said...

I stumbled across your blog this morning & have probably made myself late for work because I keep reading more! :) The decomposing deer pics didn't even deter me. Thanks for great morning reading!