The confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum) was chosen for this study because it lives in a food which ordinarily contains no living organisms. The death rates are greater in cultures which are handled daily than in those which are not handled but when all are handled alike the results are comparable.

The results from experiments with individual beetles in various kinds of flour were plotted with instars (larval stages) on the ordinate and time in days on the abscissa, using the results from control experiments in wheat flour to determine the length of the various instars from an "x = y" formula. The curves of development were found to be straight lines throughout all but the last instar. The curve for the last instar during which the larva transformed deviated from the straight line in certain foods, notably rice flour.

When mass cultures were used the death and transformation curves were plotted for each synthetic food. A comparison of the curves from wheat flour and the synthetic foods shows that the first parts of the curves are very much alike in all cases and that a few resemble the control in every respect except that the transformation curve has been moved back for a considerable time.

The death curves for the mass cultures are not smooth but show sudden increase in death at approximately the times of molting. These curves may therefore be compared with the records from individual beetles.

This content is only available as a PDF.