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Flesh Eating Beetles

Updated on October 2, 2011
This is the only book in existence that discusses this topic.
This is the only book in existence that discusses this topic. | Source

Flesh Eating Beetles

Flesh Eating Beetles, also known as Dermestid Beetles, or "Skin Beetles," in particular Dermestes maculatus, is the specie of beetle most commonly used to remove flesh from bones in the preparation of human and animal skeletons for museum and scientific use.

In addition to museums and universities, in the fall hunters often scramble to buy colonies of dermestid beetles either after on in anticipation of a successful hunt. They buy the beetles to clean the flesh of their game head so that they can do what's called a European Mount or a French Mount, where the skull of the animal is mounted to a plaque or panel with its antlers still attached. This is more common in Europe, hence the moniker "Euro Mount." In the United States it's still more common to mount the skin and fur of the animal, which taxidermists stuff with Styrofoam and dress up with glass eyes.

Then there are amateur hobbyists who just can help but be curious about the nature of these little critters. I myself once stared at a colony of dermestid beetles for nearly an hour in amazement over how the colony functioned and how each little bug seemed to have a personality all its own.

I thought of naming them but, uh, your average amateur colony still contains at least 5,000 beetles . . . that's a lot of names!

Dermestid Beetle Pupa Hatching

Time Lapse of Flesh Eating Beetles on Feed Bone


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    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

      Dermestids are great! I have worked with them before at a museum here in Seattle, and they are also everywhere down South when I go and collect skulls. Amazing little critters :)