Dermestid beetles are tiny insects with an insatiable craving for flesh. Dermestid beetles, or taxidermy beetles, are incredibly useful for preserving specimens because they can remove the flesh with such skill that they produce precise results in the art of taxidermy.
We’ll learn basic facts about these fascinating insects in this article as we examine their distinctive characteristics, ecological function, and the unexpected ways they interact with human activity. Prepare to learn why Dermestid beetles are important and fascinating in the natural world.
What Exactly Are Dermestid Beetles
The forensic experts of nature are the flesh-eating beetles or dermestids. The Greek word for skin is dermestid. Thus, the name of the insect makes perfect sense. These creepy crawlies will eat the flesh from carcasses in a process called skeletonization. Taxidermists and museum zoology departments use some species of Dermestes to remove flesh from bones. These are often called hide beetles because they can feed on dried skin and hair.
Which Industries Gain From Flesh-Eating Beetles?
These diligent beetles do indeed help numerous industries. For decades, museums and anthropologists have employed them to extract decomposing and dead flesh from deceased humans and animals. Law enforcement and crime scene investigators can use the little flesh-eaters to help gather evidence or uncover it when it is lodged in the bone, thanks to advancements in forensic science over the past few decades.
When crafting European mounts, taxidermists also employ flesh-eating beetles for their craft. The safest and best way to clean the bones without harming them is with the help of beetles. Alternative techniques for cleaning bones can potentially fracture, disintegrate, or even kill tiny bony structures.
Are There Any Foods Other Than Flesh That Dermestid Beetles Eat?
This beetle species will consume dried, dead, or decomposing organic matter. They are not picky eaters and enjoy both meat-based and plant-based foods. They can eat books, paper, wool, cotton, furs, complete taxidermy mounts, feathers, carpets, rugs, and more. When employed in museums, by taxidermists, or even for do-it-yourself skull cleaning at home, it’s crucial to ensure they’re kept in a secure environment because they’re indiscriminate eaters of organic matter.
How Quickly Do They Consume Flesh?
If you want a deer or elk skull cleaned in a few days, you’ll need a fairly large colony with at least 1000 beetles that have been established. Smaller colonies can also complete the task, but it may take a week or more, depending on the number of beetles in the colony. The size of the bones and the quantity of flesh to be removed will determine whether or not you want to clean the other bones.
What Is The Lifespan Of Dermestid Beetles?
A dermestid’s life cycle starts with an egg. After about four days, the egg hatches, and a larva emerges. The larva will consume flesh and clean bones during its roughly one-and-a-half-month-long larval stage. The larva undergoes seven or eight molting cycles during its growth, progressively growing larger until it reaches the pupa stage. The pupa progressively changes into the adult beetle during this stage, which lasts roughly a week.
A business license is not required to purchase Dermestid beetles for sale. Anyone can purchase these beetles. Proper setup is necessary to maintain the colony’s viability and prevent the introduction of other insects and pests that could destroy it.