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Dermestid Beetles
Anthrenus verbasci MHNT Fronton Side view.jpg
Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)
Scientific classification
Dermestid beetles being used to clean a human skull at Skulls Unlimited International, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Dermestidae are a family of Coleoptera. They are also known as skin beetles, larder beetle, hide beetle, leather beetle, carpet beetles, and khapra beetles. There are 500 to 700 species of Dermestids. They can reach up to 1-12 mm. Adults have round oval-shaped bodies covered in scales or setae. They can fit into deep grooves.[1]

Most Dermestids are scavengers that feed on dry animal or plant material. These materials include their skin (or pollen), animal hair, feathers, dead insects, and fibers. Members of Dermestids can be found living in dead animals and feeding on them. Others can be found living in mammal, bird, bee, or wasp nests. Thaumaglossa only lives in the egg of mantids. Many Trogoderma species are pests that eats grain.

Because most of these beetles are found living in dead animals, they are studied in forensic entomology. They study these beetles with criminal investigations. Some species are pests. They can damage natural fibers in homes and businesses. Dermestids are used by history museums to clean animal skeletons. Some dermestid species (the bow bugs), eats the bow hair of the violin.

References[change | change source]

Books[change | change source]

  • John M. Kingsolver, "Dermestidae". In Ross H. Arnett, Jr. and Michael C. Thomas, American Beetles. CRC Press, 2002, vol. 2.
  • Pasquerault T. et al 2008. Répartition des espèces du genre Dermestes L. 1758 récoltés sur des cadavres humains (Coleoptera Dermestidae). L'entomologiste Tome 64 N°4 pp 221–224.
  • Hinton H.E. 1945. A monograph of the beetles associated with stored products. 1, 387–395 British Museum (Natural History), London. Keys to world adults and larvae, genera and species; excellent figures, full species information.
  • Freude H; Harde K.W. & Lohse G.A. 1979. Dermestidae. Die Käfer Mitteleuropas 6: Diversicornia (Lycidae — Byrrhidae) 1206 text figs. 367pp. Goecke & Evers. Text in German; the Dermestidae are on pages 304–327.

Other websites[change | change source]