The larvae of the darkling beetle Zophobas morio are known as superworms.


Zophobas morio larvae, superworms.

Superworms are easy to breed and grow and they can be used as pet food or food for livestock. They are related to mealworms and often confused with oversized mealworms that only grow to the size of a superworm if they are treated with juvenile hormone. Mealworms and superworms are nutritionally similar high in protein and fat but low in calcium.

Lots of pet animals, amphibians, reptiles, birds even pet spiders and scorpions will eat superworms. Nevertheless superworms are not considered to be appropriate as a staple diet for reptiles and amphibians because of their high chitin and low calcium content.

Superworms are usually fed a diet of grains and vegetables and they grow quickly. Instead of feeding it to animals one can ‘cut out the middle man’ and cook meal worms or superworms as food for human consumption. Superworms are a lot cheaper to produce than traditional meat such as beef or chicken.

If the larvae are kept together they don’t pupate. In order to turn into beetles superworms need some privacy and they have to be separated from each other.

Zophobas morio beetle.

The darkling beetle Zophobas Morio, the adult form of a superworm.

The beetles have an unpleasant stink to ward off predators but it is not working on all animals as some will still eat the adult beetle regardless of the smell.

Further Readings:

Zophobas morio on Wikipedia.
Superworms on Professional Reptiles.
Super Worms – Zophobas moria.
Breeding Superworms: A guide to raising and breeding superworms on Gecko Time.
How to Breed Superworms on ClubFauna.
Mealworms: The Other-Other-Other White Meat? – Observations – Scientific American Blog Network.
Last updated: June 25, 2015

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