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Australian Wildlife

  Lesser Mealworm Beetle (Alphitobius diaperinus)





Lesser Mealworm Beetle | Alphitobius diaperinus photo
Lesser Mealworm

Image by USDA-ARS-GMPRC Image Database - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)

Lesser Mealworm Beetle | Alphitobius diaperinus photo
Lesser Mealworm larva

Image by USDA-ARS-GMPRC Image Database - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)



INSECT FACTS

Identification
The Lesser Mealworm Beetle is black or very dark brown oval-shaped beetle. The body is shiny with short yellow hairs. The antennae are fairly short with length about same as width of head, and have paler end segment. The pronotum (front part of thorax) is twice as broad as long. The wing covers have rows of very fine pits along their length.

Other Names
Litter Beetle, Darkling Beetle

Size
length about 6mm

Habitat
Lesser Mealworm Beetles have a natural association with birds and animals and is found in bird nests, bat colonies, and rodent infested areas. It can be a serious pest on poultry farms where they are often found in large numbers amongst bedding litter. Concrete floors helps to reduce numbers in chicken houses but does not eliminate the problem. They are also found around stored food products such where they will feed on spilled grain products, meal, poultry food etc.

Food
The Lesser Mealworm Beetle is a pest beetle that infests bedding litter in poultry farms. It will also feed on products such as flour, cereal, rice, soybeans, cowpeas, and peanuts.

Breeding
The beetles lay their eggs amongst the litter material that is used for bedding in chicken farms, or amongst spilled or stored food. The eggs are about 1.5mm long and creamy white to tan colored. The larvae have a segmented body with pointed abdomen tip and three pairs of legs. Larvae start off white and darken to a yellow brown colour, and grow to about 10mm long. The larvae feed amongst litter and pupate in earthen floors or in cracks and crevices. Pupae are approximately 6mm to 8mm long and creamy white or tan.

Range
found throughout the world. It is believed to be from Africa originally.

Notes
These beetles spread poultry diseases such as leucosis, Marek’s disease, enterovirus, fowl pox and Newcastle disease. They also transmit food-borne diseases such as E coli and Salmonella. Large populations of the beetle pest area health hazard to the poultry and humans.



Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Coleoptera
Family:Tenebrionidae
Genus:Alphitobius
Species:diaperinus
Common Name:Lesser Mealworm Beetle