Hunt AS, Ward AM, Ferguson G. 2001. Effects of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages of crickets (Acheta domestica) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). In Edwards M, Lisi KJ, Schlegel ML, Bray RE, Eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Insects are a poor source of calcium. Consequently, it is a common practice for zoos to supplement them in order to provide a nutritionally balanced diet to many species. Current methods of supplementation include dusting and gut-loading. The experiment was conducted in order to determine the effect of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages of crickets (Acheta domestica) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). An eight percent calcium diet was fed to four replicates of each of the following insects: week-old (pinheads), half-grown, and adult crickets; and small, medium, and large mealworms. Initial gut contents were evacuated from the insects and they were started on the experimental diet (day zero). Crickets and mealworms were maintained on the experimental diet for eight or seven days, respectively and were sampled at days zero, two, four, and eight (crickets); or zero, two, four, and seven (mealworms). Samples were analyzed for calcium and phosphorus content. Small and medium mealworms reached the desired 1:1 Ca:P ratio at day two, other treatments did not. Temperature may have played a role in the dietary intake of the insects.Hunt-HighCaDiet.pdf     2 MB