Three satellite DNA families were identified in three species of burying beetles, Nicrophorus orbicollis, N. marginatus, and N. americanus. Southern hybridization and nucleotide sequence analysis of individual randomly cloned repeats shows that these satellite DNA families are highly abundant in the genome, are composed of unique repeats, and are species-specific. The repeats do not have identifiable core elements or substructures that are similar in all three families, and most interspecific sequence similarity is confined to homopolymeric runs of A and T. Satellite DNA from N. marginatus and N. americanus show single-base-pair indels among repeats, but single-nucleotide substitutions characterize most of the repeat variability. Although the repeat units are of similar lengths (342, 350, and 354 bp) and A + T composition (65%, 71%, and 71%, respectively), the average nucleotide divergence among sequenced repeats is very low (0.18%, 1.22%, and 0.71%, respectively). Transition/transversion ratios from the consensus sequence are 0.20, 0.69, and 0.70, respectively.