Dermestid Beetles Infection to the Collections!!

09 March 2018

Dermestid Beetles are beetle family Dermestidae of order Coleoptera that feed on dead organisms. Specifically, dead insects in this case. They can be a real pain and damage to the museum collections as all they do is eat, eat, and EAT those food! or the valuable collections to the museum scientists.

I first encountered while living in rather an old apartment complex where pest management is NOT properly done. I’ve been seeing silverfish and dermestid beetles ALL THE TIME!! Now I moved to a house, hoped not to see any of those pest, but….. THIS!!


All I have to do is place that entire unit tray into the freezer to freeze them to DEATH! I believe this particular infected specimen is the most recent one placed in this unit tray, as well as this drawer. However, the specimen is collected on July 2016, so I’m unsure whether it has infiltrated at the time of placement, or in later dates. I’m hoping there isn’t any hole or gap anywhere on the drawer. Collections in this drawer is non-scarabs, that I rarely ever touch. That must be one reason that I finally, after the entire leg chewed up, found the infection.

Although this is non-scarab drawer, there are some valuable (as in rarity) collections in this drawer, so I was afraid to see any pest inside. I hope that one unit tray is the only one that has the dermestid beetles.


Dorcus parallelus (Say, 1824) (Coleoptera: Lucanidae: Lucaninae)

Dorcus parallelus (Say, 1824)
Lucanus parallelus Say, 1824 (original combination).

Dorcus parallelus (Say) Male_1

Description: Dorcus parallelus (Say, 1824) is one of two species of Genus Dorcus occurring in North America.

*Pictured specimen in the image is 20mm (±1mm) in size of a male, collected in Québec, Canada.

**Pictured specimen is not in hand anymore, as of 2018.

The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae)

01 February 2018

Finally, the book I’ve been waiting for has been published and printed out! The book is The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae), discussing 61 species and 2 subspecies of rhinoceros beetles occurring in the U.S. and Canada.

Below is an image of the book cover and information:

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 5.52.15 PM%5b1%5d.pngThe Dynastine Scarab Beetles of the United States and Canda (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae)
by Brett C. Ratcliffe and Ronald D. Cave
December 2017
298 pages

Abstract. The 61 species and two subspecies of dynastine scarab beetles that occur in the United States of America (including Guam) and Canada are comprehensively reviewed. Detailed discussions of historical collecting, climate, vegetation, and habitats (with color images) are presented. Keys to all tribes, genera, and species in the study area are given. Descriptions, recorded geographic localities and temporal distributions, diagnoses, notes on natural history, color illustrations, and distribution maps are provided for all species. Also included are synopses of the  higher-level taxa of the subfamily in the region, a glossary, and a species checklist.

Cyclocephala knobelae Brown is a new junior synonym of Cyclocephala robusta LeConte (Cyclocephalini). Euetheola rugiceps (LeConte) (Pentodontini) is elevated to species from a subspecies (newrevised status). Dyscinetus laevicollis Arrow (Cyclocephalini) is a new country record reported for the first time from the USA.

With such a great opportunity, I provided some fine habitus images and live images of scarab beetles studied in the book. Dr. Brett C. Ratcliffe has sent me a gift of a copy today by mail. This is the fifth series of The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of…

The followings are the series:
1. The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of Costa Rica and Panama by Brett C. Ratcliffe, 2003.
2. The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador by Brett C. Ratcliffe and Ronald D. Cave, 2006.
3. The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize by Brett C. Ratcliffe, Ronald D. Cave, and Enio B. Cano, 2013.
4. The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of the West Indies by Brett C. Ratcliffe and Ronald D. Cave, 2015.
5. The Dynastine Scarab Beetles of the United States and Canada by Brett C. Ratcliffe and Ronald D. Cave, 2017.

As I’m interested in and studying the Nearctic scarab beetles, this book is absolutely the one I’ve been waiting for so much. I have some series of scarab collections from state Louisiana. Common ones are quite easy to identify with very distinctive characteristics, while others not. This book will definitely help me out with IDs and biology of the species. The next in series, I heard, will be the Ecuador.

Microscope focus rack-camera adapter

08 December 2017

Most of the beetle plate images I upload on this page are focus-stacked images of, in average, from 20 to 50 images. Museums and Institutions now commonly use this photographing technique to illustrate the clear and focused image of insect specimens, with electronically and remotely moving focus rails and lenses. Since those equipment are very expensive, I just tightly hold down my camera on desk with one hand then turning the focus ring with my other hand to move the focus point. I then merge the files into one single file using Adobe Photoshop. It usually works well, as long as legs or any other part of specimen do not cross over each other. If they cross over each other, I will be needing more and more images to accurately process it. This, however, is very inconvenient way of shooting as I do not have the fancy equipment. I decided to make an adapter for the camera to be attached on a focus rack of my microscope. I quickly measured rough sizes of camera, lens, focus rack, etc. to draw up on CAD for 3D printing.

3D print design

Finished product from the 3D printing service

L: Adapter fits on focus rack perfectly!
R: Camera fits on the adapter very well!

This is how the adapter sits on the rack to hold the camera tightly. Now, I’m able to change the focus more slightly in detail, and more conveniently work on shooting images. As I don’t have to change the focus by turning the focus ring of the lens, I can take more and more shots of images. Below is an example image from this method of Mecynorrhina polyphemus female. Fifty two files are merged.


If I held the camera on hand and try to change the focus point by turning the lens, I might have ended up taking only about 20 images or more. Excuse me for such a dusty specimen. In case of specimens with depth, like major species in genus Golofa, I might be able to easily take more than 100 images. Next project for this method would be the LIGHTINGS, the flash diffuser, most likely.