I recently collected a newly laid clutch of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens)eggs for a photographic study of their development and I isolated three of them for the photos. I placed the three individuals and the remaining few hundred BSF from that clutch into identical containers. I didn’t keep detailed records, but there is an interesting comparison that I believe illustrates the flexibility of BSF development.
Temperature and humidity were approximately the same for both batches of larvae. The large larvae is one of the three that was separated for the photos and all three are similar in size. The small larvae is from the more crowded container which held the bulk of the larvae. The same type of food was available to both groups, but I can’t attest to the quality of the food in the more crowded environment that produced the smaller larvae. From casual observation it appeared that there was always food available to both groups. The most obvious difference between the two containers was the density of larvae. The small larvae where moved into a larger container six days after hatching and seem to be healthy and growing, but are still relatively small.
I imagine any properly educated researcher would not be surprised by this difference in development, but to this layman it’s very interesting.