Food Security on a Warming Planet: A Case Study with Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)
As earth warms and human population soars, finding sustainable food sources is more challenging. Tenebrio molitor, a common pest of stored grains that requires little space and nutrients to complete its life cycle, may be one alternative to mainstream livestock, including poultry. In this study, we assessed the sustainability of maintaining T. molitor’s adults on a simplified nutritional regimen. We hypothesized that T. molitor adults kept on an oats-only diet would survive as long as those kept on a water-supplemented diet. Recently matured adults were separated into individual containers and assigned to one of four diet (water-supplemented v. dry) and temperature (24C v. 30C) treatments. Adults kept at 30C had shorter lifespans than those at 24C. Moreover, access to water did not prolong adult lifespan: for example, at 30C, females with carrot-supplemented diets did not seem to live longer than those in the no-carrot treatment. We discuss our findings in light of how climate change might affect food production.
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23 March 2018
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19 July 2022
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