The effects of eight diets (atta flour, wheat flour, self-rising flour, rice flour, custard powder, corn flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch) on the development of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), reared at 29–31°C and 66–70% RH were assessed. Five pairs of male and female T. castaneum were reared on the respective diets for 28 d before the experimental setup was dismantled and adult counts were recorded. In another experiment, the insects were allowed to mate and oviposit in each flour or starch type over a period of 7 d before being removed. The counting of pupae and adult emergence began on the day of emergence and was continued on a daily basis until day 140. Proximate analysis was performed for chemical composition of each diet, and the numbers of new adults that developed were found to be positively correlated (r2 = 0.97; P < 0.05) with the protein content and negatively correlated (r2 = 0.93; P < 0.05) with the carbohydrate content. For T. castaneum, the suitable diets were ranked as follows: atta flour > wheat flour > self-rising flour > rice flour > custard powder > corn flour > tapioca starch > potato starch. T. castaneum larval development to the pupal and adult stages developed significantly faster in atta flour (P < 0.05) than in the other diets, and the greatest number of progeny was produced from beetles reared on atta flour. Fewer adults emerged from wheat flour, self-rising flour, and rice flour, and no new emergences were recorded for the remaining diets. Developmental rate was much slower in beetles reared on diets in which a low number in progeny was produced. These data illustrate that different diets can influence the sustainability of these insects and affect their development and growth.
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