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Young imago of Anthrenus verbasci
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Dermestidae
Subfamily: Megatominae
Tribe: Anthrenini
Genus: Anthrenus
Schaeffer, 1766[verification needed]

Anthrenus Schaeffer, 1766[verification needed]
Florilinus Mulsant & Rey, 1868
Helocerus Mulsant & Rey, 1868 (disputed)
Nathrenus Casey, 1900

Old varied carpet beetle (A. verbasci) with most scales rubbed off
Anthrenus larvae feeding on Sceliphron destillatorius specimen

Anthrenus is a genus of beetles in the family Dermestidae, the skin beetles. One of several genera of carpet beetles, Anthrenus was historically placed in a subfamily Anthreninae, though presently included in the Megatominae. The genus Neoanthrenus is closely related.

Anthrenus carpet beetles are small beetles a few millimetres long with a rather rounded shape. Their antennae bear small clubs at the end, which are plumper in males than in females. Many have a delicate and rather pretty pattern, with a dark body covered in colorful scales of various brown, tan, red, whitish and grey hues. These scales rub off easily, and old individuals are often partially devoid of them, showing the shining black elytra. A considerable number of subspecies and varieties have been named, but it is questionable whether these are all valid or simply refer to such age-related differences. The massive number of species has been divided into several subgenera, but these are not too firmly established. The small subgenus Helocerus for example is sometimes entirely included in Florilinus. Also, new species are being described every now and then.

These beetles range essentially all over the world; they have even colonized some remote oceanic islands. Most species are harmless pollen-eaters, with the long-haired larvae feeding on a wide range on dead animal or plant matter. This makes them important decomposers, which clean up decaying organisms. Some, however, most notoriously the museum beetle (A. museorum), are significant pests, infesting stored goods and especially biological specimens in museum collections. These species have caused considerable damage to biology by destroying valuable type specimens.

Selected species[edit]

Anthrenus pimpinellae, probably male

Subgenus Anthrenus

common carpet beetle (A. scrophulariae), probably male
museum beetle (A. museorum), male

Subgenus Nathrenus

Subgenus undetermined

External links[edit]