Museum Uses Flesh Eating Beetles To Clean Specimens

Flesh Eating Beetles

Museum Uses Flesh Eating Beetles To Clean Specimens

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley uses an interesting tactic to clean the flesh off the bones of their specimens.

After removing the skins to be stuffed and taking flesh samples to be cataloged, the flesh needs to be cleaned off the bones without damaging them.

Enter the Dermestid Beetles. These beetles are flesh eating insects that can pick a carcass clean in days. Once finished they leave nothing behind but the skeleton.

The museum has used these beetles to clean their specimens since the 1920’s. The ones currently in use are direct descendants of the original colony.

These beetles are perfect for cleaning skeletons, but they need to be careful when using them. If they manage to get out of their designated area, they will wreak havoc on the collections upstairs in the museum.

It has happened before, but the museum was able to contain the beetles before too much damage was done.

It’s pretty cool to see the bugs work. Check out the video below, but be warned it’s not for the squeamish.


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