(Zophobas morio)

Common Name: Superworms (Darkling beetle larvae)

Scientific Name: Zophobas morio

Reptiles Alive Name: Too many to name!

Hissstory: We purchase our superworms from an insect “farm” that caters to zoos and other animal related organizations.

RA Diet: Our superworms dine on oatmeal, whole wheat bread, greens and other veggies.

Natural Diet: Superworms will eat just about any type of vegetation.

Range: Zophobas beetles are found in Tropical Central & South America. (Beetles are found in every continent except Antarctica)

Habitat: They love to hide in rotting logs and leaves.

Size: Superworms can grow to 2 inches long and can be as thick as a pencil.

Lifespan: From egg to beetle, superworms have a total lifespan of about 1 year.

Reproduction: Female darkling beetles lay eggs, which hatch out into tiny, baby superworms. The superworms will molt many times as they grow. After a few months of growing, they morph into a pupae form, (what I like to call the “alien stage”) and emerge as a black beetle called the darkling beetle. Superworms will only morph into a pupae form if they are “stressed” such as lacking food and water. The larvae will turn into a pupae when food and water are scarce; a perfect time because pupae do not need to eat or drink. Then, the superworms emerge as beetles at a time when food and water are plentiful.

Conservation: As decomposers, superworms are extremely beneficial recyclers of organic material. They are also a tasty treat for many animals and, even some humans!

Cool Facts: In many countries, superworms and mealworms are cooked and eaten by humans. They are healthy and a valuable source of protein. Taste a little like almonds. (No really, they are delicious.) In case you feel so inclined here’s the Nutritional Information:

Nutritional composition(%) and energy content (Kcal/100g), based on dry matter:
Protein – 43.13-46.79
Fat – 40.80-42.04
Fiber – 9.26-13.00
NFE(Carbohydrates) – 2.61
Energy content(Kcal/100g) – 575.53Vitamin composition based on dry matter:
Vitamin A – 29.16 mcg
Vitamin E – 18.29-32 IU/kg
Vitamin C – 2.85 mg
Vitamin B1 – 0.14 mg
Vitamin B2 – 1.78 mg
Vitamin B3 – 7.67 mg
Vitamin B5 – 4.61
Vitamin B7 – 83.14 mcg
Vitamin B9 – 0.16
Mineral composition(mg/100g) based on dry matter and recommended daily intake for adults(mg/day):
Calcium – 42-120
Potassium – 750.59
Magnesium – 118.29
Phosphorus – 562.95
Sodium – 112.83
Iron – 3.92-5.03
Zinc – 7.29-8.75
Manganese – 0.15-1.02
Copper – 0.86
Selenium – 0.03
Amino acid content (mg/g protein):
Valine – 52.3
Arginine – 48.7
Histidine – 30
Serine – 46.7
Proline – 54.8
Alanine – 72.6
Glycine – 48.2
Glutamic Acid – 122.8
Met + Cys – 18.3
Isoleucine – 47
Leucine – 97
Lysine – 52.3
Phenylalanine – 34.5
Methionine – 10.7
Cysteine – 7.6
Phenylalanine + Tyrosine – 31
Threonine – 39.6
Tryptophan – 9.1

Source for nutritional information: Rumpold, BA; Schluter, OK. “Nutritional composition and safety aspects of edible insects.” MOLECULAR NUTRITION & FOOD RESEARCH; MAY, 2013; 57; 5; p802-p823

“The educator was terrific! Her facts were just right for our 6-7 year olds – they LOVED her. Thanks again, it was wonderful!” – Alison Pion, Mom, Washington, D.C.



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