Ardente A, Sullivan K, Livingston S, Williams S, Colee J, Valdes E. 2017. Practical Investigation of Cricket Dust Supplements Commonly Used to Enhance Diets Provided to Insectivore Species under Human Care. In Ward A, Coslik A, Brooks M Eds. Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation and AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Frisco, TX.
Amphibians and reptiles commonly managed under human care are commonly fed farmed feeder crickets (Acheta domesticus) that are deficient in calcium. Calcium deficiency can lead to the development of nutritional metabolic bone disease in animals consuming the crickets; therefore, feeder crickets are commonly supplemented with calcium by either dusting the crickets’ exoskeleton or by providing crickets with a calcium enriched diet. Experiments evaluating the efficacy of dusting provide variable results, so we sought to evaluate the nutrient content of feeder crickets commonly fed to insectivores at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dust supplementation. Our objectives were to determine which of three dust supplements adhered the best to crickets and optimized the cricket nutrient content at various time points, while mimicking the practical dusting method used at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Three dust supplements, including the product prepared by Disney’s Animal Nutrition Center and two commercially available dusting supplements (Repashy and Rep-Cal), were tested for adherence at 4 time points (0, 30, 90, 180 minutes). Nutrient composition of the dusted crickets were then compared across time points and to un-dusted crickets. Based on assessment of cricket weight, all dust treatments had the greatest adherence when measured at time point 0 min. As crickets spent more time in the shaker, dust adherence decreased. All dusted crickets had significantly greater concentrations of Ca (p<0.05) when compared to un-dusted control crickets, and Ca concentrations decreased over time for all dusted crickets. Compared to the other two supplements, Repashy achieved the greatest Ca concentration and vitamin A concentration, as it was the only supplement tested containing the vitamin. Repashy also appeared grossly stickier that the Disney and Rep-Cal products. This study assessed the importance of measuring both adherence of dust supplements and resulting nutrient content of feeder crickets over time, using practical application methods, in order to select a product that will achieve the desired cricket nutrient content for insectivore diets.Ardente NAG 2017 Cricket Abstract7.18.pdf     104 KB