The fascinating natural history of Nicrophorus beetles means that they have become a model study species in evolutionary ecology. The lifecycle of these beetles centres on the dead body of a small vertebrate, like a mouse or bird. Having located a carcass, they strip it of fur or feathers and roll the flesh into a ball, which they bury in a shallow grave. They then smear the flesh with antimicrobials. The female lays her eggs in the soil near the carcass, the larvae hatch and crawl to a crater nibbled into the meat by their parents beforehand. There, they solicit food (predigested carrion, probably) which the parents transfer from their mouthparts. The parents remain in attendance at the carcass, partly to defend it and the offspring from any infanticidal intruders, and partly to continue to nourish the offspring. The male leaves sooner than the female, who stays until the larvae have completed this phase of their development, around 7 days after hatching. The parents fly off in search of new breeding opportunities, while their larvae disperse into the soil from what remains of the carcass to pupate and, eventually, eclose as adults.