08 April 2006

Dermestid beetle taking off


Among the many arthropods we share our home with are dermestid, or carpet, beetles (Coleoptera: Dermestidae). These beetles and their larvae feed on fur, horns, silk and are considered pests, but we haven't noticed any damage that we could attribute to them.

Dermestids are quite common in our basement. The adults can fly, but I have never seen them actually flying around, perhaps because they only fly short distances. They tend to appear out of nowhere, as did this particular individual last nite on my computer desk. It was crawling on a stack of papers while opening and closing its wings. I noticed that an upside down dermestid beetle rights itself up by opening its wings and pushing itself up.


As you can tell from the picture above, this individual was about 2 mm long. If I am not mistaken, it is Anthrenus flavipes, the furniture carpet beetle (correct me if I am wrong).


Here is how you can use dermestid beetles to clean the skeletons in your closet!

Correction added 9 April: I was mistaken. The pictured beetle is Anthrenus verbasci. See the comments by Andreas Herrmann below.


pascal said...

Best critter you can have to clean up roadkill - bar none.


Andreas Herrmann, an authority on Dermestidae (http://www.dermestidae.com), responded to my e-mail inquiry & kindly given me permission to post it here:
"it is very problematical to identify an Anthrenus specimen down to species level only by a picture. Nevertheless I assume your beetle more likely will belong to the species Anthrenus verbasci instead to A.flavipes. Please have a close look to the antenna club on the picture gallery of my homepage; beneath the big differences in genitalia and the form of the scales this is the best way to tell the two species from each other."