Definition of dermestid in English:



  • A small beetle of a family (Dermestidae ) that includes many kinds which are destructive (especially as larvae) to hides, skin, fur, wool, and other animal substances.

    • ‘The dank cave floor swarms with flesh-eating dermestid beetles, which museums often employ to clean animal skeletons; should a maladroit bat fall into their midst, they'll reduce it to bones in minutes.’
    • ‘Specimens were then prepared for morphometric analysis with dermestid beetles, which cleaned and disarticulated skeletal elements of the head.’
    • ‘The mandibles were exposed to dermestid beetles, cleaned, and the coordinates of 16 landmark points were digitized for the right hemimandible.’
    • ‘The left set of leg bones was cleaned by dermestid beetles and airdried in preparation for chemical analysis.’
    • ‘The destruction of nests discourages infestations by dermestid beetles and other insect scavengers which could move to other household items.’


Late 19th century: from modern Latin Dermestidae (plural), from the genus name Dermestes, formed irregularly from Greek derma ‘skin’ + esthiein ‘eat’.