Red-shouldered ham beetle head, SEM

Red-shouldered ham beetle head, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Insect Detectives

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Red-shouldered ham beetle (Necrobia ruficollis) head, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Forensic entomologists study this beetle because it feeds on dead bodies. The beetle feeds on dried meat, so it does not feed on a corpse until around 2-4 months after death, when the body is beginning to dry out. They live for around 14 months and the female can lay 3000 eggs in that time. The seasonal activity of this beetle (it is active in summer) helps provide evidence for the season of death. Its compound eyes (green), antennae (stalks between eyes), mandibles and sensory palps are all seen. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, antenna, antennae, bacon, beetle, coloured, compound, crime research, death, decay, decomposition, eye, eyes, face, forensic entomology, forensics, hair, ham, head, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, mandible, mandibles, mouthpart, mouthparts, nature, necrobia ruficollis, palp, palps, pincer, pincers, red-shouldered, scanning electron micrograph, sem, sensory hairs, wildlife, zoology

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