Darkling beetles Facts

Darkling beetles Facts
Darkling beetles are large group of insects that belong to the family Tenebrionidae. There are around 15.000 species of darkling beetles that can be found in temperate and tropical regions around the world. Darkling beetles inhabit fields and wooded areas. Many species live in close proximity to humans, in the parks, gardens, barns and other man-made objects that provide enough food. Darkling beetles are classified as pest of grains and other stored products in most countries in the world.
Interesting Darkling beetles Facts:
Darkling beetles can reach 1 to 1.5 inches in length.
Body of darkling beetles is covered with black, smooth, armor-like protective shell.
Darkling beetles have a pair of segmented antennas, notched eyes and three pairs of legs.
Darkling beetles do not fly due to fused wings (also known as elytra) that are sealed to the body.
Darkling beetles feed on decaying plant and animal matter. They also eat live plants, buds, fruit, fungi and grains.
Darkling beetles rarely drink water because they are able to extract the moisture from the food they eat.
Most species of darkling beetles are active during the night (nocturnal).
Latin name of darkling beetles is "Tenebrio" which means "the one that likes darkness". Name refers to the fact that these beetles usually inhabit dark places and hide under the rocks and leaf litter.
Some darkling beetles produce foul smelling substance from the glands in the rear end of the body to repel the predators. Same substance changes the color of the body into brown.
Natural enemies of darkling beetles are lizards, rodents, spiders, birds and large beetles.
Fishermen use darkling beetles as bait for the fish.
Darkling beetles are common model organisms in the laboratories and classrooms which investigate ecology, genetic and biology of insects. They are large, have short life cycle and their maintains does not require too much effort. Darkling beetles are also used as ideal source of food for the laboratory animals such as insectivorous mammals.
Darkling beetles undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa and adult insect). Female lays up to 500 eggs in the ground. Larvae, known as mealworms, hatch few weeks later. Larvae are golden brown colored and have cylindrical body equipped with 6 legs that are used for the movement on the ground.
Larva molts 9 to 20 times over a period of two months. It then retreats under the ground and enters pupa (dormant) stage. Two or three weeks later, adult, white-colored insect emerges from the cocoon. It attains adult, black coloration after only one day.
Some species of darkling beetles can complete their entire life cycle in 3 to 4 months, while other species can survive until the age of 10 years. Most darkling beetles live only several months due to intense predation.

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