EVALUATION OF GROWTH RATE AND FEED CONVERSION EFFICIENCY OF DARKLING BEETLE ZOPHOBAS ATRATUS FABRICIUS (COLEOPTERA: TENEBRIONIDAE) ON WHEAT (TRITICUM AESTIVUM) BRAN AND IVY GOURD (COCCINIA GRANDIS) LEAF
Rearing darkling beetle (Zophobas atratus Fabricius) larvae as an alternative food source drew attention due to many advantages. In this study, Efficiency of Conversion of Ingested food (ECI) and Relative Growth Rate (RGR) were measured from Z. atratus larvae fed on wheat (Triticum aestivum) bran and fresh ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis) leaves. ECIs of these larvae fed on wheat bran were improved by supplementation of fresh ivy gourd leaves, but ECIs still declined in the late larval instars. RGR of Z. atratus larvae was at least 2.6% per day which was faster than conventional livestock. Therefore, rearing Z. atratus with wheat bran and fresh ivy gourd leaves was profitable and time saving.
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