T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Beetle (Red-legged ham) Necrobia rufipes

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Cleridae
Subfamily: Korynetinae
Genus: Necrobia
Species: N. rufipes
Binomial name: Necrobia rufipes
Common name: Red-legged ham beetle,

Necrobia rufipes is a predatory beetle in the family Cleridae with a cosmopolitan distribution. It is beetle of significance in forensic entomology.

The adult beetles are 3.5–7.0 millimetres long, convex, straight sided, and the surface has indentations called punctures. They are shiny metallic green or greenish blue in colour. The legs are reddish brown. The antennae are mainly a reddish-brown but with dark brown or black club at tip. The sides of thorax and elytra have stiff bristle-like hairs.
They feed on the meat-infesting larvae of Calliphora or blow flies, The adults are surface feeders and attack dried fish, hides, copra, dried egg, cheese, guano, bone meal, dried figs, palm nut kernels, skins, bones of dead animals, and other carrion. They are also found on museum specimen bones. Although refrigeration has reduced the impact of the beetle on meats they are the most significant pest of dried and salt fish including herring. They have been recorded in Egyptian mummies and were once known as Necrobia mumiarum.
The beetle lays eggs on the food material and when they hatch the larvae pass through three or four instars; the last instar spins a cocoon in which pupation occurs; life-cycle takes 6 weeks or longer depending on food type and physical conditions. Under optimum conditions, the rate of population increase is about 25 times per month. The adults fly actively and can thus easily disperse to new sources of food.