Image: Hide beetle larvae

Hide beetle larvae

Hide beetle larvae, Dermestes ater

C Bento
© Australian Museum


Hide beetles - Family Dermestidae

Hide beetles are some of the most important animals present in the final stages of decomposition of a carcass. The adults and larvae are not predaceous and feed on the dried skin, tendons and bone left by the fly larvae. Hide beetles are the only beetle with the enzymes necessary for breaking down keratin, a protein component of hair.

Dermestes cadaverinus and Dermestes maculatus are two species occurring in Australia that are particularly common in summer. Both adults and larvae feed on dried skin ligaments and bone as well as dead insects. The larvae of both species are hairy.


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Tags death, decomposition, beetle, beetles, coleoptera, insect, insects,