Darkling Beetles-Tenebrionidae

The Tenebrionidae is a large family containing some 16,000 species, which vary greatly in size and shape. Most of these beetles are brown or black, but a few-darkling beetles of the genus Diaperis, for example -display red markings. They feed on a wide vdriety of vegetable materials.

Mealworms, darkling beetle larvae of the genus Tenebrio, are frequently used as fishing bait and as food for certain kinds of caged birds. The adults are black, and about an inch in length. Darkling beetles of the genus Pimelia are among the few animals found in the desolate deserts of Africa and central Asia. They extract moisture from the roots of desert grass and feed on the blades. Tenebrionids of the genus Eleodes, when frightened or disturbed, raise the tips of their abdomens about 45 and then scurry along the ground in this comical position.

Darkling Beetles- Tenebrionidae

TriboSium confusum. Perhaps the most interesting member of this family, however, is Tribolium confusum, the confused flour beetle. This pest is found primarily in flour, but also occurs in such dry material as corn meal, dog food, cereal, and dried fruit. Small and rather plain looking, the adult confused flour beetle is notable in that it secretes a yellow liquid called ethylquinone, a substance that often kills or deforms the beetle's own larvae and can lead to bizarre mutations among the emerging generation of adults. The adult confused flour beetle exudes drops of ethylquinone that crystallize on its body. When the insect is irritated, the crystals vaporize. If the larvae come in contact with the ethylquinone, a number of changes can occur. In some cases the larvae pupate to emerge as adults devoid of antennae or mouthparts. In other cases the legs and antennae may be abnormally branched. If the young beetle is contaminated during the pupal stage, the emerging form may be half adult, half pupa. The confused flour beetle is common in the northern United States.


 

INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:26:13 PM