Flour beetles of the genus Tribolium have been utilised as informative study systems for over a century and contributed to major advances across many fields. This review serves to highlight the significant historical contribution that Tribolium study systems have made to the fields of ecology and evolution, and to promote their use as contemporary research models. We review the broad range of studies employing Tribolium to make significant advances in ecology and evolution. We show that research using Tribolium beetles has contributed a substantial amount to evolutionary and ecological understanding, especially in the fields of population dynamics, reproduction and sexual selection, population and quantitative genetics, and behaviour, physiology and life history. We propose a number of future research opportunities using Tribolium, with particular focus on how their amenability to forward and reverse genetic manipulation may provide a valuable complement to other insect models.