Dermestidae

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Dermestid Beetles
Anthrenus verbasci MHNT Fronton Side view.jpg
Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)
Scientific classification
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Dermestidae
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 beetles, hide beetles, leather beetles, carpet beetles, and khapra beetles. There are 500 to 700 species of dermestids. They can be up to 1–12 mm in length. Adults have round oval-shaped bodies covered in scales or setae.[1]

Most dermestids are scavengers that feed on dry animal or plant material.[2] This includes skin or pollen, animal hair, feathers, dead insects, and natural fibers. 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 cases of mantids. Many Trogoderma species are pests that eat grain.

The beetles found living in dead animals are studied in criminal investigations (forensic entomology). Many species are pests which can damage natural fibers in homes and businesses. Dermestids are sometimes used by natural history museums to clean animal skeletons.

References[change | change source]

  1. Byrd, Jason. Castner, James 2001. Forensic Entomology: The Utility of Arthropods in Legal Investigations
  2. Kingsolver, John M. 2002. Dermestidae. In Ross H. Arnett, Jr. and Michael C. Thomas, American Beetles. CRC Press, vol 2.

Books[change | change source]

  • 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]