Australian Wildlife

  Red-legged Ham Beetle (Necrobia rufipes)

Red-legged Ham Beetle | Necrobia rufipes photo
Red-legged Ham Beetle, Necrobia rufipes

Image by Michael C. Thomas, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)


The Red-legged Ham Beetle is a shiny metallic blue green beetle. The antennae are reddish brown with dark brown or black club at tip. The legs are reddish brown or orange. The elytra are covered with bristle-like hairs. The underside of abdomen is dark blue. The adults fly readily and disperse to form new colonies. The larvae are cream-grey grubs with mottled darker violet grey markings on the back.

adult beetle length 4mm - 7mm

The Red-legged Ham Beetle infests dried meats, smoked meats, and dried fish. It is most often fond in products that are stored unwrapped for long periods. Adults feed on the surface of the products, and larvae bore into the product causing further damage.

The female beetle lays her eggs in crevices in the meat. The eggs are smooth, translucent eggs and about 1mm long, glued in clusters to the surface of the foodstuff. The larvae burrow into the flesh where they feed. The larvae develop through three or four instars and then spin a cocoon to pupate. The cocoon may be within the product or in a dark crevice nearby. The life-cycle from egg to adult takes about 6 weeks or longer depending on temperature and food source.

Common Name:Red-legged Ham Beetle

Relatives in same Genus
  Blacklegged Ham Beetle (N. violacea)