Effects of rearing density, adult density and sex ratio in the flight chamber, adult age, sex, presence or absence of food, and duration of food deprivation on rate of and time to flight initiation of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), were studied in the laboratory. Rates of flight initiation were slightly lower at lower rearing densities, but they did not differ with age or sex of adults, presence or absence of food in the flight chamber, or duration of food deprivation. Focal adults were less likely to fly when individuals of the opposite sex were present in flight chambers. Presence of the same sex or mixed sexes and numbers of individuals in flight chambers did not affect tendency to fly of focal individuals. Mean time to flight of older beetles (7–20 d old) was less than that of younger beetles (1–4 d old). No young beetles flew during the first 24 h of flight tests. Mean time to flight did not differ with rearing density, sex, presence or absence of food, or duration of food deprivation. Our results indicate that this species is highly dispersive during the adult stage and that flight does not seem to be associated with just prereproductive or postreproductive dispersal phases, high rearing density, or short to medium periods of food deprivation. Therefore, T. castaneum level of flight activity does not seem to be associated with factors that have been shown in the literature to increase dispersal by walking for this species and to increase flight initiation in other stored-product species.
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Vol. 104 • No. 2