Darkling Beetle and Larva, Zophobas morio

This is a large family of beetles native to North America, with over 1200 species of darkling beetles found in a wide variety of habitats from deserts to forests. Our darkling beetles start as mealworms or “superworms” that are purchased from local pet stores, and is only one of the many kinds of darkling beetles.

Beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis (4 stages) similar to butterflies. The mealworms shed their exoskeleton and undergo a pupa stage in which they change into beetles. A freshly emerged beetle is a dark reddish-brown, and takes about 24 – 48 hours to darken into the black colour.

They primarily use their sense of smell with their antennae to find food and “see” the world around them. The adult beetles have wings but prefer to remain at ground level where they forage for rotten or fresh fruits and vegetables.

If startled or disturbed, they can “bleed” a white liquid from behind the head which gives off an unpleasant odour to deter predators.


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