[6] It transmits animal viruses such as rotavirus,[7] the turkey coronavirus, the chicken viruses that cause Marek's disease and infectious bursal disease, and the viruses that cause Newcastle disease, avian influenza,[1] and fowlpox. Feeding potential and biology of lesser meal worm. Suborder: Superfamily: Darkling beetles eat both fresh and decaying vegetation. Darkling beetles inhabit fields and wooded areas. They are a family of beetles found worldwide, estimated at more than 20,000 species. Most members feed on dry, decomposing vegetation or animal tissue. Darkling beetle. Some species have longitudinal ridges on their wing covers, but most are smooth, without markings of any kind. Which of these insects includes a “slave-maker” that bites the head off the resident queen? It has mid-brown, hairy elytra and jet-black head, thorax and appendages and can be found on low vegetation or at light. [1] Resistance is more common on farms that have been chemically treated for many years. [9], No agents of biological pest control are used against the lesser mealworm. Click on any image below to visit the species page. The larvae of a widely distributed darkling beetle known as the mealworm (Tenebrio) are used as food for such pets as birds and fish. Major predators include birds, rodents and lizards. [8] It transmits bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni,[9] Salmonella typhimurium serovar, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus species. True outbreaks are often uncontrollable and some populations of the beetle have shown resistance to various compounds. The unique diet of the darkling beetle larvae that was uncovered in this study presents the possibility that polystyrene can be broken down by other insects that feed on rotten wood. (2012). Major predators include birds, rodents and lizards. The forked fungus beetle (Bolitotherus cornutus) is easily recognized by a pair of blunt hornlike projections on the head. Some protozoa and spider species are known natural enemies. Some beetles are long and slender. species of darkling beetle in the world, and almost all are found in plentiful numbers in their various habitats. Other behaviours and adaptations. Omissions? They are tapering and segmented, with three pairs of legs toward the front end, and whitish when newly emerged from the egg and darken to a yellow-brown. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Corrections? Comparison of two acetylcholinesterase gene cDNAs of the lesser mealworm, Transmission of enteric pathogens of turkeys by darkling beetle larva (, Limited transmission of turkey coronavirus in young turkeys by adult. Alphitobius diaperinus is a species of beetle in the family Tenebrionidae, the darkling beetles.It is known commonly as the lesser mealworm and the litter beetle.It has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring nearly worldwide.It is known widely as a pest insect of stored food grain products such as flour, and of poultry-rearing facilities. [14], Proper maintenance of poultry housing usually keeps the beetle under control, as it propagates in accumulated litter and droppings. Common name of the large family of beetles Tenebrionidae. This very diverse group includes many common species found in a variety of habitats. The number of species in the Tenebrionidae is estimated at more than … In Watts 1992 Tenebrionidae catalogue states it is found around Auckland under bark and logs and has since been found it at Ohope and New Plymouth so it is probably now widespread in the warmer parts of … [1], The larvae of the litter beetle, like certain other larvae of darkling beetles such as mealworms, are used as animal feed, e.g., fed to captive reptiles. The larvae emerge within a week and take 40 to 100 days to reach maturity, depending on conditions and the food supply. Share. This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species… When disturbed, the bug elevates the hind part of its body and secretes a foul-smelling oily fluid for protection. There are about 400,000 species of beetles, which make up 25% of all existing animal species. 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