Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Tenebrio molitor
(European meal worm)



Tenebrio molitor (European meal worm)


  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tenebrio molitor
  • Preferred Common Name
  • European meal worm
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tenebrio molitor Linnaeus

Preferred Common Name

  • European meal worm

Other Scientific Names

  • Tenebrio molitoria Fourcroy

International Common Names

  • English: mealworm; mealworm beetle; mealworm, beetle, yellow; mealworm, yellow; yellow mealworm; yellow mealworm beetle
  • Spanish: gusano de la harina; tenebrio molinero
  • French: tenebrion meunier; ténébrion meunier; ver de la farine

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: melskrubbe
  • Finland: jauhopukki
  • Germany: Gemeiner Mehlkaefer; Gemeiner Mehlwurm; Mehlkaefer, Gemeiner; Mehlwurm, Gemeiner
  • Iran: susske ard
  • Italy: tenebrione mugnaio
  • Japan: tyairo-kome-gomimusidamusi
  • Netherlands: meeltor; meelworm
  • Norway: melbille, stor
  • Turkey: sari un kurdu

EPPO code

  • TENBMO (Tenebrio molitor)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Tenebrionidae
  •                             Genus: Tenebrio
  •                                 Species: Tenebrio molitor

Habitat List

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Growth Stages

Top of page Post-harvest

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / external feeding
Fruit / frass visible
Seeds / external feeding
Seeds / frass visible

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Arma custos Predator
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen
Brontocoris tabidus Predator
Camponotus maculatus Predator
Dysdera crocota Predator
Formica polyctena Predator
Gregarina niphandrodes Pathogen
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Parasite
Hymenolepis diminuta Parasite
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen
Pardosa vancouverensis Predator
Podisus connexivus Predator
Podisus maculiventris Predator
Podisus nigrispinus Parasite
Pyemotes kerfsi Parasite
Scincus scincus Predator
Steinernema feltiae Parasite
Supputius cincticeps Predator
Tenebroides mauritanicus Predator
Tynacantha marginata Predator


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Arendsen Hein SA, 1920. Studies on variation in the mealworm, Tenebrio molitor. Journal of Genetics, 10:227-263.

Brendell MJD, 1975. Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects Royal Entomological Society of London. London UK, 5(10):22 pp.

Busvine JR, 1966. Insects and Hygiene. London, UK: Methuen & Co Ltd.

Campbell JM; Sarazin MJ; Lyons DB, 1989. Canadian beetles (Coleoptera) injurious to crops, ornamentals, stored products, and buildings. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Agricultural Canada, 491 pp.

Cotton RT, 1927. Notes on the biology of the mealworms Tenebrio molitor L. and T. obscurus Fab. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 20:81-86.

Cotton RT, 1963. Pests of stored grain and grain products. Minneapolis, USA: Burgess Publishing Co.

Cotton RT; Good NE, 1937. Annotated list of the insects and mites associated with stored grain and cereal products, and of their arthropod parasites and predators. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous publication 258.

Cotton RT; St George RA, 1929. The meal worms. U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin, 95.

Davidson RH; Lyon WF, 1979. Insect pests of farm, garden, and orchard. Insect pests of farm, garden, and orchard. John Wiley & Sons Inc. New York USA, Ed. 7:xi+596 pp.

Gerber GH, 1975. Reproductive behaviour and physiology of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). II. Egg development and oviposition in young females and the effects of mating. Canadian Entomologist., 107(5):551-559.

Gerber GH; Sabourin DU, 1984. Oviposition site selection in Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Canadian Entomologist, 116(1):27-39.

Headstrom BR, 1977. The Beetles of America. AS Barnes & Co. Inc.

Hickin NE, 1974. Household insect pests. 2nd Edition. London, UK: Associated Business Programmes Ltd.

Hill DS, 1975. Agricultural insect pests of the tropics and their control. Agricultural insect pests of the tropics and their control. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge UK, [12 +] 516 pp.

Hill DS, 1987. Agricultural insect pests of temperate regions and their control. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Jones GGW; Jones M, 1964. Pests of field crops. London, UK: Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd.

MacNay BG, 1949. A summary of the more important insect infestations and occurrences in Canada in 1949. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario, 80:57-77.

MacNay CG, 1952. Summary of the more important insect infestations and occurrences in Canada in 1952. Annual Republic of the Entomological Society of Ontario, 83:66-94.

Metcalf CL; Flint WP; Metcalf RL, 1951. Destructive and useful insects. 3rd edition. New York, USA: McGraw Hill.

Monro HAU, 1969. Insect pests in cargo ships. Publication, Plant Protection Division, Canada Department of Agriculture, No.855:39 pp.

Mound LA(Editor), 1989. Common insect pests of stored food products. A guide to their identification. London, UK; British Museum (Natural History), Ed. 7:ix + 68 pp.

Obata S; Hidaka T, 1982. Experimental analysis of mating behaviour in Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Applied Entomology and Zoology, 17(1):60-66.

Punzo F; Mutchmor JA, 1980. Effects of temperature, relative humidity and period of exposure on the survival capacity of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 53(2):260-270

Tschinkel WR; Wilson CD, 1971. Inhibition of pupation due to crowding in some tenebrionid beetles. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 176:137-145.

Tyschchenko VP; Sheyk Ba A, 1986. Photoperiodic regulation of larval growth and pupation of Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Entomological Review, 65:35-46.