Darkling beetles are a large family of beetles with over 20,000 species and have a cosmopolitan distribution.
These beetles are separated into eleven subfamilies, which consist of several genera.
Size: 0.13 – 0.75 in (0.2 – 1.9 cm)
Color:They range from reddish-brown to brownish-black.
Other Characteristic Features: The antennae of these beetles can be slightly clubbed, filiform, or moniliform, with the ends enlarged somewhat.
The larvae, called mealworms or false wireworms, have adapted to a life underground. Their bodies are covered with armor, and some specimens have chemical defenses against predators.
Pupation takes place underground in a soil chamber constructed during the larval stage.
The female lays her eggs on a suitable host plant.
|Habitat||Arroyos, grasslands, and shrublands|
|Predators||Crows, coyotes, foxes, hawks, ravens, and snakes|
|Seasons active||Spring to late fall|
|Host Plants||Any dead or dried-up plant matter|
|Diet of adults||Rotten or decayed plant material|
The larval and adult stages are huge pests regarding crops and anything produced by the food industry. They will destroy plants and insulating matter by feeding on them while also spreading diseases.