Image: Beetle larva

Beetle larva

Beetle larva

Richard Major
© Australian Museum


Corpse Fauna - Beetle larvae

Beetle larvae are more variable in form than fly larvae, and there is more variation between species in the number of larval instars (stage of development between moulting) - up to fourteen. Beetles associated with carrion live in an ephemeral environment and tend to have short larval development times with only two or three instars. Most beetle larvae have chewing mouthparts (like most of their parents)* and they feed on a variety of foods associated with corpses. Some are specialist predators, feeding on fly larvae, while others feed on dry flesh, skin, ligaments and hair.

*Adult dung beetles (Scarabaeini) have liquid feeding mouthparts and are attracted to particularly large juicy carcasses.

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Tags death, decomposition, beetle, larva, coleoptera, insect,