Darkling beetle

Darkling beetles (Tenebrio molitor) are most commonly encountered in their larval form, known as mealworms.

The adult beetles are less than 2cm in length and black in colour. Adults live for 60-90 days and the females can lay approximately 500 eggs. The eggs hatch after a week and the larvae then go through 10-14 moults before pupation. The length of time spent as a pupae is dependent on the temperature at which the beetles are being kept but can be as short as 3 days or as long as 30 days.

Mealworms are often used as live food for birds, fish or reptiles and they are high in protein. When being captive bred the mealworms and adult beetles are both fed on bran or oatmeal.

A photograph of mealworms.

A photograph of mealworms, larvae of the darkling beetle.
Photograph by Peter Halasz licensed under Creative Commons.

A photograph of an adult darkling beetle (_Tenebrio molitor_).

A photograph of an adult darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor
Photograph by Sanja565658 licensed under Creative Commons.

Other names for (or types of) Darkling beetle include:

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