Effect of Substrate Choice on Growth of Mealworms

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Effect of Substrate Choice On Growth
Of Mealworms

Abstract: The experiment is designed to show which substrate A or B will better nourish a mealworm. A mealworm was placed in each substrate for a period of seven days and the change in mass from Day 1 to Day 7 was compared. The data was compiled and statistically analyzed. The experiment failed to reject the null hypotheses that there would be no difference in the two substrates regarding meal worm growth. The conclusion that there was a difference requires more experimentation to obtain additional information. Introduction:

Using the scientific method it is necessary to gain some knowledge about mealworms and the two different substrates. Mealworms are the larvae of Tenebrio molitor, commonly known as the darkling beetle. They are from the kingdom animalia and the class insecta. These mealworms are 1/2” to 3/4” long and have a slightly tough exterior useful for burrowing. They prefer to live in areas where moist organic matter is abundant. The beetles and larvae eat decaying leaves, sticks, and as composters eat dead insects and stored grains. (CEISO, The University of Arizona, 1997) Mealworms do not thrive in wet or moldy conditions. Mealworms are easy to raise and multiply quite rapidly at 80 degrees F. Size is largely a matter of feed and temperature. (Ohio State University Extension, 2000) The purpose of the experiment is to find out how the choice of substrate A, oat bran or substrate B, peat moss will impact mealworm growth. Oat bran is the outer covering or bran of the oat grain and is a stored grain. Peat moss is a genus of between 151-350 species of mosses composed of the live part growing on top of a peat bog, and sphagnum peat moss, the decaying matter underneath. Members of this genus can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; some species can hold up to 20 times their dry weight in water. (Wikipedia, 2009) Materials:

Mealworm larvae
Vial with a measurement line marked 4 cm from the vial bottom China marker used to mark vial
Foam stopper
Substrate A
Substrate B
Graduated pipette
Pipette filler
Tap water
Metal tweezers
Plastic tray
Incubator set to 28 degrees C
Each student in the class was given a vial and stopper. Half of the class was assigned substrate A and the other half substrate B. The vials were marked with a 4 cm marking and the assigned substrate (oat bran or peat moss) was added to the 4 cm line on each vial. Using the tweezers to gently pick up the worms we were sure to choose the feisty ones and place them gently into a boat. The balance was tared out and then the worm was placed into the boat on the balance. The initial mass of the worm to the nearest 0.001g was then recorded in Table 2.1 as Day 0 mass. Next, the graduated 1 ml pipette and filler was used to add 0.5ml tap water to each vial. (Lab Manual) One mealworm was placed in each prepared vial and the foam stopper was put into place. The vials were put into a labeled plastic container and placed into the incubator set at 28 degrees C. The mealworms remained in the incubator for 7 days. One week later, the mass of each mealworm was weighed to the nearest 0.001g and recorded in Table 2.1 as the final mass on Day 7. The total gain or loss of mass for each larva was calculated and recorded in the table. The data for the class was compiled and analyzed for the two substrates A and B. Results:

See attached sheets
The hypothesis that one substrate would be superior to another in nourishing the worms was not supported by the experiment results. The null hypothesis (Ho) is not rejected. The null hypothesis maintains that there is no difference between the two substrates. The alternate hypothesis (Ha) maintains that the two substrates are unequal. Statistical calculations were done to establish the P-value of .684 for this experiment. The...
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