mealworm v superworm

Superworms vs mealworms, A very commonly asked question. It’s no surprise really, they both look very similar to each other to the untrained eye, Except a bit of size difference. An inexperienced or new breeder may just chalk that up to fat well fed larva, But the truth is their are an incredible amount of differences between the 2 species.

This article is going to lay out all the differences so when you need to decide between superworms vs mealworms, Your going to know exactly what to choose and what’s right for you. Let’s get started.

Superworms Vs Mealworms

Mealworms

Mealworms are much smaller in size than their larger superworm comparison. This species belongs to the Tenebrio Molitor family and tends to last longer than the superworm as pet food.

That’s because when stored properly in the fridge, they can survive that way for up to 10 weeks. That’s a big deal to most breeders and animal lovers who rely on mealworms for pet food.

While mealworms lack the same amounts of fat fiber and calcium that superworms retain, They more than make up for it in the number of proteins inside their little worm bodies. For every 100 grams of mealworm, 20 grams of that is going to be proteins, and the rest as fat and other nutrients. Here’s exactly what in them:

Mealworm Nutritional info:

MineralAmount mg per kg
Calcium156
Phosphorus2640
Magnesium620
Sodium225
Potassium3350
Chloride1760
Iron20
Zinc49.5
Copper8.3
Manganese3.2
IodineNegligible <10
Selenium0.12
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Farmers, breeders and pet owners also have the option of introducing a special hormone to their mealworms which prevents them from entering their pupa stage so quickly, extending their shelf life considerably.

Some other useful knowledge about mealworms:

  • They have a softer exoskeleton which makes them easier to eat for some types of reptiles
  • They have a fairly uniform brownish yellow color
  • Depending on how you bred them, sometimes they need to purge in a fridge before being fed to animals (like most insects)
  • Average .75 inches
  • Can’t bite or sting (humans)

Superworms

Superworms belong to the family Zophobas morio. They are far bigger than mealworms at a whopping 2+ inches, roughly 4 times the size, and can push 5-6x. While this might seem like a no-brainer and you should choose superworms because theirs simply “more of it”, a lot of that size is down to their much harder shells.

This brings the overall amount of useable meat down a bit. And while the mealworm is superiors in protein, the superworm takes lead in fats, calcium, and fibers.

Superworm nutritional info:

MineralAmount mg per kg
Calcium262
Phosphorus2090
Magnesium435
Sodium385
Potassium2860
Chloride1630
Iron20
Zinc30
Copper3.6
Manganese3.7
IodineNegligible <10
Selenium0.1
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Superworms can bite humans, however they are incapable of penetrating humans thick skin. The first time it will mostly come as a shock or surprise, and a slight pinching feeling. Otherwise no damage should be done to the skin, and almost no pain will be had.

For thinner-skinned reptiles, however, the superworm is capable of damage and drawing blood and should be kept in mind when deciding whether to feed them mealworms vs superworms.

Can you keep mealworms and Superworms together?

If your thinking you might be able to save some space by storing superworms and mealworms together in the same container, I’m here to tell you that’s an awful idea!

As much as some free extra space would be, To get it would be akin to throwing gladiators in a bit with wild animals. The sheer size difference and eating habits between the 2 species will always end with the bigger eating the smaller.

Even superworms will eat each other if the other is smaller and weaker. Natures brutal.

The same also goes for the eggs they lay. Each species will attempt to eat their own and each other’s eggs, which is why we separate them in cycles. Adults with adults, eggs with eggs, larva with larva, and pupa with pupa. And we sometimes go further still and separate larva by size.

So no, Do no add mealworms and superworms together. It will end in a bloodbath.

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