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. Once they reach adult size, the larvae pupate, and later emerge as large, black beetles. Contrary to popular belief the adult does not have fused elytra, anyone who sees a newly eclosed beetle will prove this is incorrect, and the beetle sometimes tries to fly. The larvae will not pupate if kept in a container with many other larvae, where they receive constant bodily contact.Keeping superworms this way is commonly used to hinder pupation. They have 6 small legs and two rudimentary hind prolegs.
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. They are odor-free (but the beetles release some odor if provoked), and can be easily contained, making them ideal for raising at home to feed a collection of captive insectivores.
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