It feeds on dead animals, including dried and smoked meats and animal skins, as well as on cheese. It is frequently found in cadavers in the later stages of decomposition, and is thus useful in forensic entomology.
Pierre André Latreille was imprisoned in 1793 under threat of execution, after failing to swear allegiance to the state following the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. When the prison's doctor inspected the prisoners, he was surprised to find Latreille scrutinising a beetle on the dungeon floor. When Latreille explained that it was a rare insect, having identified it as Necrobia ruficollis, the physician was impressed and sent the insect to a 15-year-old local naturalist, Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent. Bory de St.-Vincent knew Latreille's work, and managed to obtain the release of Latreille and one of his cell-mates. All the other inmates were dead within one month.
|External identifiers for Necrobia ruficollis|
|Encyclopedia of Life||1174602|
- "Ham Beetle, Necrobia ruficollis". Australian Museum. November 10, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- George Gordh, Gordon Gordh & David Headrick (2003). "Red-shouldered ham-beetle". A Dictionary of Entomology. CAB International. p. 772. ISBN 978-0-85199-655-4.
- Claude Dupuis (1974). "Pierre André Latreille (1762–1833): the foremost entomologist of his time" (PDF). Annual Review of Entomology. 19: 1–14. doi:10.1146/annurev.en.19.010174.000245.
- David M. Damkaer (2002). "A celebration of Crustacea". The Copepodologist's Cabinet: A Biographical and Bibliographical History, Volume 1. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 240. American Philosophical Society. pp. 114–130. ISBN 978-0-87169-240-5.