Remember that horrible scene in The Mummy where beetles eat Omid Djalili alive? Well, ahead of Halloween, why not check out some scary footage of the real thing as flesh eating insects strip bodies to the bone?
If you haven’t already had your daily dose of NOPE, this should fill your quota as the fascinating (and pretty terrifying) video shows what happens when a swarm of hungry beetles are set loose on animal carcasses.
However, the insects’ special skill is actually put to good use by researchers at the ‘library of life’, who use the Dermestid beetles in taxidermy to help preserve the animal specimens for future generations to admire.
Basically, whenever a new carcass arrives at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, the bugs are put to work cleaning them up and accelerating the process of decomposition.
Cleaning flesh from the bone in order to preserve an animal for long-term use requires a delicate hand to prevent any damage so researchers decided to bypass all those difficulties and just let these tiny creatures do their thing.
The beetles also continue to multiply in order to get the job done quicker – they lay their eggs in the flesh of a corpse, and the fast-growing larvae soon emerge and consume all that remains.
And as if that doesn’t already sound sinister enough, this is actually a horror movie waiting to happen, as there is the constant worry that the swarm of beetles could escape and destroy the various collections in the museum.
It’s happened before apparently and it means we’ll never be taking on a night shift in this place! Sleep with one eye open…