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Silphidae (carrion beetles, burying beetles, sexton beetles; subclass Pterygota, order Coleoptera) Family of fairly large beetles, up to 30 mm long, which have smooth, generally red or black elytra. Some have exposed abdominal segments. They have prominent mandibles; the eyes are convex; the antennae are strongly clubbed. Their names are derived from their habit of burying corpses of small animals by excavating soil beneath them, using their mandibles and spined tibiae. Eggs are laid in connecting tunnels and larvae are fed by the female on carrion or associated fly larvae. Silpha atrata preys on snails, while others feed on caterpillars and root crops.