|“||Scarab skeletons, flesh eaters...They can stay alive for years, feasting on the flesh of a corpse.||”|
– Evelyn Carnahan explaining the scarab biology. , The Mummy
Scarabs are small, carnivorous insects that eat the flesh of whatever creature they could catch, particularly humans.
Small, navy-shelled insects with wing-cases, the scarabs fed on human flesh, living or dead, and would appear at times in temple corridors in great swarms, reducing any in their path to bones. Scarab swarms, while unstoppable by humans armed with only guns, could be impeded or even halted with fire.
The scarabs could stay alive for years eating flesh, and when thrown into a sarcophagus or other enclosed space with a human would eat away at the human's flesh more slowly. Often the scarabs would be placed in murals on temple walls, each taking on the appearance of a jewel until they were pried out by an investigative treasure-seeker, at which point they would break free from their hardened casing and tear into the thief's skin, tunnelling through until it reached the brain, causing excruciating pain for its victim, which invariably led to death, and while the scarab would cut into the skin of a human, it could also be cut out with a knife or blade with little risk to the human victim. The shell of the scarabs could harden into stone-like casings in which the scarabs would await their next victim.
The scarabs placed within the sarcophagus of Imhotep suffered the same curse that he had and so were condemned accordingly to a prolonged existence.
Behind the Scenes
In the first film, the scarabs were created with a computer simulation, each insect created individually. While filming scenes in which the characters had to interact with the scarabs, rubber beetles were employed for the shoot and replaced digitally with computerized scarabs.
The scarab's design was achieved by taking the "worst" traits of certain insect species, such as pincers and movements, and combining them all to digitally create a variety of insect.