What this bug?
First, congrats on a great site!
Attached are two closeups of a bug, possibly a bed bug, found when stripping the sheets from our mattress. (We do this every week, but this is the only ‘visitor’ we’ve ever seen). Bug was not dead, but just lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>lying there waving its little legs slowly. Could be because we had had a flea infestation (we>sprayed the house and mattress with flea spray last year. Any way here it is…
I really wasn’t positive, so I sought out a true expert, Weiping at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. Here is his answer:
“Thank you very much for your image. This is a Thylodrias larva (Coleoptera: Dermestidae: Thylodrias). It is very common in Los Angeles area. I collected it many times in our museum. Hopefully, the information will help you. Sincerely, Weiping”
I can add the Dermestidae is a family of beetles known as Carpet Beetles or Buffalo Bugs. They are fond of eating skins, furs, woolen materials and dried animal matter, and as a family, are the bane of the entomologist since they can quickly devour a prized insect collection.
Many thanks for the reply – I’m greatly relieved that its only a carpet beetle, and not something worse! Attached the second picture, which was of the head/jaws of the grub.
Best Regards, Richard
Thank you for the additional photo. I did find some additional information for you. The beetle Thylodrias contractus does not have the typical form of most Carpet Beetles. It is more elongate with long legs and antennae. I did find an interesting anecdote in Lutz’ book Field Book of Insects. He writes: “In 1908 Mrs. Slosson, the author of such charming stories as ‘Fishing Jimmy,’ published a description of a strange beetle that was eating her collection of insects. She playfully called it ‘Ignotus aenigmaticus.’ This name was in proper form and by the rules of the game remained the scientific name of the beetle until the discovery was made that the beetle was an introduction from Transcaucasia and had a prior name. It is now Thylodrias contractus. It eats like a Dermestid but does not look like one. The female is wingless and the male has no hind wings.” The beetle was originally described in Transcaucasia by Motschulsky.
Thanks again Daniel – two further questions,
1. do you have a picture of an adult?
2. Will my bug make it onto your website?
I have your letter ready for posting, but the site is currently down due to heavy traffic. I was expecting it to be up today, but still no luck. I know the site is up on the east coast, since I began getting additional letters. Check in a day or two. I have a photo of an adult and will attach it. It was previously identified only generally, but now there is an exact species name. Thank you for your interest.