Population Assay of Tenebrio molitor (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): Growth and Development Analysis


  • Katina Anastasia Hicks Texas A&M University


This experiment focuses on the growth and population development of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae).  The larvae are cylindrical and hard-bodied “false worms” called mealworms.  Due to the scavenger nature of this insect, they are typically found under stones, decaying logs, bark or on the ground. However, Tenebrio molitor can be purchased though many bait shops and markets and are a common food source for pets.  Measurements of the front of head capsule to the end of abdomen and body weight were taken from larvae, pupae, and adult stages. Data was imputed into a logarithmic program on Excel where the standard deviations, variance, range and averages were determined and compared.  It appears that variation in development of T. molitor occurs from the larval to pupal stage where most of the fatalities occurred.  




Baek, S., et al. (2015). "Response of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) adults to potato: Implications for monitoring and sampling." Journal of Stored Products Research 60: 5-10.

Davis, G. R. F. (1978). "Growth response of larvae of Tenebrio molitor L. to concentrations of dietary amino acids." Journal of Stored Products Research 14(1): 69-71.

Dunford et al. (2005.) The Darkling Beetles of Florida and Eastern United States (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Dept., Gainesville.

(2014). "Effects of temperature on development and humoral immune defense of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) larvae." Entomological Journal. 57(5): 616-620.

Ewa Siemianowska, A. K., Marek Alijewicz, Krystyna A. Skibniewska, Lucyna Polak-Juszczak, Adrian Jarocki, Marta Jedras (2013). "Larvae of Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) as European novel food." 4(6): 287-291.

Li, L., et al. (2016). "Rearing Tenebrio molitor in BLSS: Dietary fiber affects larval growth, development, and respiration characteristics." Acta Astronautica 118: 130-136.

Morales, R. (2015). "Morphometric analysis of instar variation in Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)." Annals of the Entomological Society of America 108(2): 146-159.

Murray, D. R. P. (1968). "The Importance of Water in The Normal Growth Of Larvae Of Tenebrio Molitor." Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 11(2): 149-168.

Ramos-Elorduy, J.; Avila Gonzalez, E.; Rocha Hernandez, A.; Pino, J. M., 2002. Use of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) to recycle organic wastes and as feed for broiler chickens. J. Econ. Entomol., 95 (1): 214-220

URS, K. C. D. and HOPKINS, T. L. (1973) Effect of moisture on the lipid content and composition of two strains of Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae). J. stored Prod. Res. 8,299-305.