Dr. Adrian Smith of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at North Carolina State University has been raising mealworms as ant food for many years. He had little interest in the creatures, but then starting taking time-lapse photos of them and discovered how truly amazing they are.
Here are some things I learned about them:
- They are called mealworms not because they are commonly used as meals for pets, but because they often invade stored grains.
- After several molts, they go into a pupal stage, which can last for days or weeks.
- When they emerge as beetles, they are pale and soft. It takes several days for their cuticle to darken and get hard.
Dr. Smith runs a YouTube channel called Ant Lab, which I just subscribed to. The videos are excellent and not always about ants, but most of them are, like this one about a certain kind of ant that collects the skulls of an enemy ant.