Zophobas morio

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Zophobas morio
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Tenebrionidae
Genus: Zophobas
Species: Z. morio
Binomial name
Zophobas morio
Fabricius, 1776

Zophobas morio is a species of darkling beetle, whose larvae are known by the common name superworm or zophobas. Superworms are common in the reptile pet industry. In the search for easy-to-raise insects to use as food for captive reptiles and amphibians, superworms quickly moved into the spotlight, and have been a staple feeder insect ever since.They should not be confused with giant mealworms, which are tenebrio molitor larvae sprayed with juvenile hormone.

These insect larvae resemble very large mealworms, about 1.7 to 2¼ inches long (50-60 mm) when full size. They have 6 small legs and two rudimentary hind prolegs. Once they reach adult size, the larvae pupate, and later emerge as large, black beetles. The larvae will not pupate if kept in a container with many other larvae and plentiful food, where they receive constant bodily contact.[1] Keeping superworms this way is commonly used to hinder pupation. Contrary to popular belief the adult does not have fused elytra, the beetle occasionally attempts to fly when it is desirous to do so and is also standing on an elevated surface, a requirement for the flight response of all Coleoptera.[2]

Superworms are accepted by lizards, turtles, frogs, salamanders, birds, koi and other insectivorous animals. Their hard chitin may make them less suitable for arachnids and some predatory insects. Their nutritional values are similar to those of mealworms, so supplementation with calcium is necessary if they are used as a staple food item. The larvae are odor-free (but the beetles possess a pungent chemical defense that may be released when overprovoked), and can be easily contained, making them ideal for raising at home to feed a collection of captive insectivores.

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