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Future pest status of an insect pest in museums, Attagenus smirnovi: Distribution and food consumption in relation to climate change

Lise Stengaard Hansen, Monika Åkerlund, Terje Grøntoft, Morten Ryhl-Svendsen, Anne Lisbeth Schmidt, Jan-Erik Bergh, Karl-Martin Vagn Jensen
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Journal Article
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The brown carpet beetle Attagenus smirnovi, Zhantiev 1973 (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) is an important pest of objects of organic origin in museums of cultural and natural history in Europe. Future climate changes are expected to lead to increasing temperatures, which will affect the pest status of this species. In the present study a laboratory investigation was conducted to elucidate the effect of temperature and humidity on the amounts of organic material consumed by larvae of A. smirnovi. In the case of new and old skin, consumption was approximately twice as high at 28 °C compared to 20 °C. Wool was consumed in the greatest amounts: 169 mg of wool was consumed in three months by 30 A. smirnovi larvae. The expected future climate changes in Scandinavia are assumed to lead to higher temperatures in museums and stores where climate is not regulated. Updated data on the present distribution of A. smirnovi in Europe show that it is widespread and common, also in regions with a climate that does not support its survival out of doors. Thus, dispersal of this pest probably only rarely occurs by flight, but usually with human activity. Due to the widespread distribution of A. smirnovi, it is likely that damages in museums and collections in Scandinavia due to this pest will increase as climate changes come into effect.

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