Necrobia ruficollis

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Necrobia ruficollis
Necrobia ruficollis.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Coleoptera
Family:Cleridae
Genus:Necrobia
Species:N. ruficollis
Binomial name
Necrobia ruficollis
(Fabricius, 1775)
 
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Necrobia ruficollis
Necrobia ruficollis.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Coleoptera
Family:Cleridae
Genus:Necrobia
Species:N. ruficollis
Binomial name
Necrobia ruficollis
(Fabricius, 1775)

Necrobia ruficollis, the ham beetle,[1] red-shouldered ham beetle or red-necked bacon beetle,[2] is a predatory beetle in the family Cleridae with a cosmopolitan distribution.[1]

Description[edit]

Necrobia ruficollis is 4.0–6.5 millimetres (0.16–0.26 in) long, and is mostly a metallic black or dark blue colour. Its thorax and legs and the bases of the elytra are reddish-brown.[2]

Ecology[edit]

It feeds on dead animals, including dried and smoked meats and animal skins, as well as on cheese. It is frequently found in cadavers in the later stages of decomposition,[1] and is thus useful in forensic entomology.

Latreille[edit]

Pierre André Latreille was imprisoned in 1793 under threat of execution, after failing to swear allegiance to the state following the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.[3] When the prison's doctor inspected the prisoners, he was surprised to find Latreille scrutinising a beetle on the dungeon floor.[4] When Latreille explained that it was a rare insect, having identified it as Necrobia ruficollis, the physician was impressed and sent the insect to a 15-year old local naturalist, Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent. Bory de St.-Vincent knew Latreille's work, and managed to obtain the release of Latreille and one of his cell-mates.[4] All the other inmates were dead within one month.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Ham Beetle, Necrobia ruficollis". Australian Museum. November 10, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b George Gordh, Gordon Gordh & David Headrick (2003). "Red-shouldered ham-beetle". A Dictionary of Entomology. CAB International. p. 772. ISBN 978-0-85199-655-4. 
  3. ^ Claude Dupuis (1974). "Pierre André Latreille (1762–1833): the foremost entomologist of his time" (PDF). Annual Review of Entomology 19: 1–14. doi:10.1146/annurev.en.19.010174.000245. 
  4. ^ a b c David M. Damkaer (2002). "A celebration of Crustacea". The Copepodologist's Cabinet: A Biographical and Bibliographical History, Volume 1. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 240. American Philosophical Society. pp. 114–130. ISBN 978-0-87169-240-5.