darkling beetle

noun
any brown or black beetle of the family Tenebrionidae, the larvae of which feed on dead or decaying plant material, fungi, stored grain, etc.
Also called tenebrionid.


Origin:
1810–20

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

darkling beetle

any member of the approximately 12,000 species of the insect family Tenebrionidae (order Coleoptera), so named because of their nocturnal habits. These beetles tend to be short and dark; some, however, have bright markings. Although found on every continent, they are more common in warm, dry climates. Most members feed on dry, decomposing vegetation or animal tissue. Some bore in wood; others feed on larvae or live in ant nests.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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The tenebrionid beetle known as the darkling beetle used to be of more importance to this industry.
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