Pupal case of dermestid beetle larva, SEM

Pupal case of dermestid beetle larva, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Insect Detectives

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dermestid beetle (Dermestes sp.) empty pupal case, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). This beetle is studied by forensic entomologists as it feeds on extremely dry, desiccated dead bodies. In the open it feeds on corpses around 2 months after death. Both beetle and larva feed on the tissues of the corpse, and they can be used to estimate a time of death. The larva lies dormant in a pupa as it develops into the adult form. They also feed on dried foods and hair and dead skin. This specimen was found in the hair of a dried-out dead body. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, beetle, coloured, crime research, dead body, death, decay, decomposition, dermestes sp., dermestid, forensic entomology, forensics, hair, hairs, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, pupa, pupal case, scanning electron micrograph, sem, wildlife, zoology

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