Beetle (Hide) Dermestes maculatus
Species: D. maculatus
Binomial name: Dermestes maculatus
Synonyms: Dermestes vulpinus, Dermestes marginatus, Dermestes senex, Dermestes lateralis, Dermestes elongates, Dermestes lupinus, Dermestes semistriatus, Dermestes rattulus, Dermestes sudanicus, Dermestes truncatus
Common name: Hide beetle
Dermestes maculatus is a species of flying carrion beetle with a worldwide distribution. This species is often found underneath dead animals that have decomposed for several days to weeks. The appearance of the beetle on decomposing remains of humans and other animals can be used to estimate postmortem interval in cases of suicide, homicide, or unattended death. The adults generally arrive within 5 to 11 days following an animal's death. The larvae develop for five to seven weeks, and the adult beetles live for four to six months.
Dermestes maculatus is typically used by universities and museums to remove the flesh from bones in skeleton preparation. Human and animal skeletons are prepared using this method and the practice has been in use for over 150 years.
The adult beetle (>10 14mm in length) is black or a dull colour and is usually hairy. The beetle and its larvae feed on carcases, stored sheepskins, leather, and dry animal products such as dried fish, cheese, bacon, dog and poultry food.
The larvae bodies are covered in setae. The bottom of the abdomen is yellowish-brown while the dorsal surface is dark brown, usually with a yellow line in the middle. When mature larvae may bore into hard surfaces, especially softwoods, to pupate.
Once adults, the beetles can disperse to other food sources by flying. Adult beetles typically live between four to six months.
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