Mortality of Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Eggs Caused by the Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum)


It is estimated that quarter to half a million specimens of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti, 1768) live in liberty. Ranching crocodiles for their skins has been successfully implemented in several African countries but also in Israel. Recently, in one of these ranches, an increased mortality of crocodile eggs was observed and it was thought that insects were causing their death. Two crocodile eggs were kept together with 100 adults of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst, 1797), while the third egg was kept without beetles. No food for beetles was added to the boxes. The eggs were observed twice a month for any kind of changes on their surface. After two months, at least 39 holes were observed in one egg and 146 on the second egg, which was exposed to beetles, while no holes could be seen in the control egg. Some of the holes were deep enough to see the inner layers of the egg. There is enough evidence to believe that adults of T. castaneum are able to damage the eggs of the Nile crocodile and in some cases lead to their death; measures should be taken to protect the eggs from this and similar species of beetles.

Share and Cite:

Mumcuoglu, K. (2012) Mortality of Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Eggs Caused by the Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum). Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 2, 9-12. doi: 10.4236/ojvm.2012.21002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] G. J. W. Webb, S. C. Manolis and P. J. Whitehead, “Wildlife Management: Crocodiles and Alligators,” Surrey Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd., Chipping Norton, 1987, p. 552.
[2] C. A. Ross, “Crocodiles and Alligators,” Facts on File Inc., New York, 1989, p. 240.
[3] B. Branch, “Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa,” 3rd Edition, Ralph Curtis Books Publishing, Sanibel Island, 1998, p. 399.
[4] H. B. Cott, “Scientific Results of an Inquiry into the Ecology and Economic Status of the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in Uganda and Northern Rhodesia,” The Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, Vol. 29, No. 4, 1961, pp. 211-356. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1961.tb00220.x
[5] M. L. Modha, “The Ecology of the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti) on Central Island, Lake Rudolf,” African Journal of Ecology, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1967, pp. 74-95.
[6] C. A. W. Guggisberg, “Crocodiles. Their Natural History, Folklore and Conservation,” Purnell, London, 1972.
[7] J. M. Hutton, “Movement, Home Range Dispersal and Separation of Size Classes in Nile Crocodiles,” American Zoologist, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1989, pp. 1033-1050.
[8] D. K. Blake and N. Jacobsen, “The Conservation Status of the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in South Africa,” In: Conservation and Utilization of the Nile Crocodile in Southern Africa. Handbook on Crocodile Farming, Crocodilian Study Group of South Africa, Pretoria, 1992, pp. 11-21.
[9] A. Khalifa and A. Badaway, “Biological studies on Tribolium confusum (Duv.), Tribolium castaneum (Hbst.) and Latheticus oryzae (Waterh.),” Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Egypt, Vol. 39, 1955, pp. 351-373.
[10] E. R. Jacobson, “Immobilization, Blood Sampling, Necropsy Techniques and Diseases of Crocodilians: A Review,” The Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1984, pp. 38-45.
[11] B. Perelman and V. Chikatunov, “Intoxication of Young Crocodiles in Captivity Due to the Ingestion of Darkling Beetles Blaps nitens laportei Ardoin (Coleoptera; Tenebrionidae),” Israel Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2010, pp. 100-102.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.