|Can't get enough of your love, babe. Photo from bugguide.net; photo by Andrew Williams|
As the beetle is working, chances are a suitable mate will show up to help, because there's nothing like a dead body to get burying beetles in the mood for love. The two beetles excavate the soil underneath the animal, which gradually sinks below the surface while the loosened soil rolls down to cover it. The beetles inter themselves with the deceased, and then they listen to some Barry White. No, actually, the act of examining and burying the dead causes the female's partially developed eggs to mature. The beetles mate and dig a brood chamber, and she lays her eggs.
Now the expectant couple further prepares the body. They remove fur or wings, and move them off to the side within the chamber, and then shape the denuded carcass into a ball. (If you happen to be eating anything right now, this might be a good time to stop.) By the time their eggs hatch, the parents have rendered the flesh edible for them by regurgitating it and depositing the resulting droplets into conical depressions in the body. The female calls her grubs to these soup bowls by rubbing a ridge on her wing covers against her abdomen. The adults tend their young for about two weeks, finally leaving the crypt when the young pupate. Ten days later, the young emerge as adult beetles, ready to sniff out another dead body and play some Barry White.