Hunt AS, McClements RD, Ward AM. 2005. The effect of terrarium size, egg crate area, stocking density, and time on cricket mortality and the ability to achieve a 1:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio. In Graffam W, Hellinga D, Maslanka M, Ward A, Eds. Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Omaha, NE.
In order to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for captive insectivorous animals, invertebrates such as crickets and mealworms must be supplemented with calcium. Current methods of supplementation include dusting and gut-loading. The size of the terrarium, the area of egg crates within the terrarium, cricket stocking density, and length of time on the gut loading diet, may all play a role in cricket survivability and the ability to achieve the desired 1:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of these factors. None of the treatments significantly affected the percent of cricket death, though the calcium level did increase significantly from the baseline. Only one replicate of the crickets collected live reached the 1:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio, however, the crickets collected dead had a significantly greater calcium to phosphorus ratio than the crickets collected live. Further research should be directed at formulating a diet that can maintain the health of the insect in conjunction with increasing the calcium to phosphorus ratio.HuntInsectFINAL19Sept.05.pdf     153 KB