Introduction: Mealworms are the worm-like larval form of a very dark brown beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species which belongs to the genus Tenebrio and the family Tenebrionidae. The animal has other common names such as “Yellow mealworm”, “Mealworm beetle”, “Darkling beetle”, and “Darkening beetle”. The larval form is the usable form in pet’s keepers.
Distribution and habitats: Mealworms are found throughout most of the world in temperate regions, but primarily in the northern hemisphere. They thrive on grain and flour and are usually live near human habitation where their food sources are readily available. They prefer in dark, cool, and damp places like under decaying logs and leaves. When found inside homes, they …show more content…
For self-defense, they spray noxious odor from scent glands.
Reproduction and life history: The mealworm is not a worm but the larval stage of the mealworm beetle which is also called the darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor).
Like all holometabolic insects, the darkling beetle experiences a complete metamorphosis and goes through four distinct life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The duration of each stage varies significantly due to environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and food. A female Darkling beetle lays about 270-500 small, white bean shaped eggs. Depending on water temperature, eggs hatch into tiny mealworm larvae in an average of about 10-12 days but this period could be much shorter while could extend to close 20 days or even beyond.
During the larval stage, and in order to grow, mealworms larvae undergo repeated molting/growth cycles. It is estimated that the number of molting may range from 10-20 times. By reaching the last molt and shedding its exoskeleton, the larvae lose its carapace before curling into its pupal form which is the third stage in the life cycle. The larval stage is the stage where the insect is a …show more content…
They are commonly used in sports fishery as fishing bait such as for catching crappies or sunfish. In fact, there are various products of the mealworm prepared in a variety of forms for human consumption; some of which are sorted as healthcare foods.
The steadily increase in the prices of commercial fish feeds, stimulated searching and looking for less expensive feed for production economics reasons. Research projects have been designed to investigate the possibility of incorporating the mealworms in fish feed such as Nile tilapia and African catfish feed.
The manufacturers of fish feed in their attempts of replacing expensive ingredients such as fish meal by less expensive comparative ingredients are expected to benefit from research outcomes and commercialize it. The incorporation of the mealworms in on-farm feed preparation is most likely justified especially the production of the mealworms could be achieved on small farm level.
Away from its possible use in pet or aquaculture systems, Tenebrio molitor is being used as a model organism in biology laboratories for biology, biochemistry, evolution, immunology, and physiology. This is based on their relatively large size as well as the ease in their production and