October 25, 2010

Bug Ate Bugs: A developing story

Assumptions of specimen WT.Derm.ate1-10′s death were premature. After being left in a glass case over the weekend, it was noticed that WT.Derm.ate1-10 had shed its skin and molted. A clear sign of “still alive and kicking”. Furthermore, it had taken on a striking and lovely red color in the process. Since this character is now the living embodiment of more than half of the CPNH’s transgenic mosquito collection, it was decided to let it stay and live out its existence here. Dermestid beetles have historically played a dual role in the life of Natural History museums. One is as resident bone cleaner. Colony’s of dermestid are maintained my museums for their ability to eat all the flesh off of the bones of incoming specimens. The other role is as a feared invader capable of infesting the softbodied specimens of the collection and at times even going on to finish off the bones themselves.

Not knowing what this particular dermestid prefers to eat (other than desicated mosquitoes) we have been providing options. A piece of dried chicken seems to have gone over the best, while the stink bug remains untouched. A GloFishâ„¢ was largely ignored for its nutritional value, but was discovered to have a novel use as a shelter (shown below).

Posted by: Rich @ 11:04 am Bookmark and Share