Dermestid Beetles

Dermestes maculata

Fascinating Facts

  • Natural history museums have employed dermestid labor since the 1930s to nibble away muscle and connective tissue from bones to help prepare them for scientific study or display.

Physical Characteristics

Adults are oval and approximately 1/8 inch long. The black carpet beetle is uniformly dark brown-black and shiny. Other common carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, common carpet beetle) are covered with colored scales of various patterns.Carpet beetle larvae are elongate, reddish or light brown, and covered with short hairs.


These beetles are know to be found all over the world. The beetle feeds on carrion and dry animal products.

Social Behavior

They often found beneath dead animals that have decomposed for several days to weeks. Dermestid beetles are often utilized to clean soft tissue from skeletons, and are especially valuable in cleaning those of small animals with delicate bones.

Status In The Wild

They are very common and are not endangered.


Dermestid Beetles can be found in the Insect Zoo.

Animals & Exhibits