Humidity is probably the most important abiotic factor influencing life cycles, distribution, survival, and population dynamics of stored product pests. Although most of these pests can complete their life cycles in any given relative humidity, their prolonged development time, as well as decreased emergence rate and fecundity, have been well documented in several previous studies. In the present study, we evaluated the changes in energetic substances (lipids, soluble carbohydrates, glycogen, and proteins) accumulated in different life stages of larvae and adults of Tribolium castaneum in response to different relative humidity levels (5, 12, 22, 30, 45, and 65%). The results showed that young larvae were more susceptible to low relative humidity levels and desiccation stress. Larvae tended to accumulate higher proportions of lipids during earlier stages while their energy content shifted towards proteins with an increase in their age. Adult beetles experienced a significant decrease in their protein content immediately after they initiated reproduction. The importance of these fluctuations in the biology of the red flour beetles was discussed in detail.
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