Developmental characteristics of Tenebrio molitor larvae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in different instars

  • Park, Jong Bin (Department of Agricultural Biology, National Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Choi, Won Ho (Department of Agricultural Biology, National Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Kim, Seong Hyun (Department of Agricultural Biology, National Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Jin, Hyo Jung (Department of Agricultural Biology, National Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Han, Yeon Soo (Department of Plant Biotechnology, College of Agriculture & Life, Chonnam National University) ;
  • Lee, Yong Seok (Department of Parasitology, College of Medicine, University of Soonchunhyang) ;
  • Kim, Nam Jung (Department of Agricultural Biology, National Academy of Agricultural Science)
  • Received : 2013.12.20
  • Accepted : 2014.01.20
  • Published : 2014.03.31


Tenebrio molitor is a major pest of stored grain, although its larvae have potential for use as food. However, little is known about the characteristics of individual larval instars of this species, and the number of instars remains disputed. Therefore, we assessed T. molitor for the average number of instars and its characteristics at different larval stages. The focus of this study was to establish a foundation for further studies on the characteristics of each larval instar. All of the T. molitor larvae showed incubation periods of 7 to 8 d and a period of 3 to 4 d for the $1^{st}$ instar. Beyond the $1^{st}$ instar, there were relatively large variations in the number of days in each instar period. Before emergence, most of the larvae had typically gone through 15 to 17 instars. The highest rate of pupae formation, 28.32%, was observed in the $17^{th}$ instars. The body length gradually increased with each successive instar, reaching its maximum at the 17th instar. Beyond the $17^{th}$ instar, however, the body length decreased. The larvae were white in the first instar, and gradually turned brown after the $2^{nd}$ instar.



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