The amylase from Tenebrio molitor L. larvae (yellow mealworm) was characterized according to a number of its molecular and catalytic properties. The insect amylase is a single polypeptide chain with mol.wt. 68000, an isoelectric point of 4.0 and a very low content of sulphur-containing amino acids. The enzyme is a Ca2+-protein and behaves as an alpha-amylase. Removal of Ca2+ by exhaustive dialysis against water causes the irreversible inactivation of the enzyme. Moreover, the enzyme is activated by the presence in the assay mixture of Cl-, or some other inorganic anions that are less effective than Cl-, and is inhibited by F-. Optimal conditions of pH and temperature for the enzymic activity are 5.8 and 37 degrees C. The insect amylase exhibits an identical kinetic behaviour toward starch, amylose and amylopectin; the enzyme hydrolyses glycogen with a higher affinity constant. Compared with the non-insect alpha-amylases described in the literature, Tenebrio molitor amylase has a lower affinity for starch.