T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Beetle (Red Flour) Tribolium castaneum

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Tenebrionidae
Genus: Tribolium
Species: T. castaneum
Binomial name: Tribolium castaneum
Synonym: Colydium castaneum
Common name: Red Flour Beetle, Bran bug, Rust red flour beetle, Flour beetle, Rust red flour beetle.

Tribolium castaneum is a darkling beetle found in most tropical and subtropical countries in the world. It is a pest of a variety of stored products including flour, maize, cereals, pasta, biscuits, wheat, beans, and nuts. Adult and larva feed mainly on the germ of the cereals.
The United Nations in a recent report estimated that Tribolium castaneum and Tribolium confusum (confused flour beetle), are “the two most common secondary pests of all plant commodities in store throughout the world.”

An adult Tribolium castaneum is approximately 3-4 mm long with a flattish curved-sided body that is reddish-brown in colour. The head and upper part of the thorax are covered with minute punctures and the wing cases are ridged along their length. The antennae are enlarged at the tip (capitate) with the last three segments wider than preceding segments. The eyes are reddish-black in colour. Adults can disperse over short distances through flight.

The female lays 300-400 eggs in their 5-8 month adult lifespan. They are each 0.5 mm long, cylindrical, white or colourless and are sticky. The slender cylindrical larvae are yellowish-white and covered with fine hairs. The head is pale-brown and the last segment of the abdomen has two upturned dark, pointed structures. The pupa does not have a cocoon and is first a yellowish-white and then turning brown.

4mm long Red Flour Beetles