The development and evaluation of a gut-loading diet for feeder crickets formulated to provide a balanced nutrient package for insectivorous amphibians and reptiles

Obligate insectivores in their natural habitats consume a wide variety of insect species. In captivity, the diversity of prey items is limited to very few species which has led to nutritional deficiencies. Zoological institutions, therefore, have a responsibility to administer feeding programs which include supplementation techniques that compensate for known shortcomings in the nutrient composition of their feeder insects. Gut-loading...

Gut loading as a method to effectively supplement crickets with calcium and vitamin A

Limited quantities of vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A in crickets have led to the occurrence of diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, metabolic bone disease (calcium deficiency) and more recently, squamous metaplasia or “short tongue syndrome” in amphibians. Gut loading has been an effective method to supplement feeder crickets with both calcium and vitamin A. A dose of...

Evaluating gut-loading diets and dusting to improve the calcium concentration of pin-head and adult crickets (Acheta domesticus)

Four experiments were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of dusting crickets with calcium carbonate versus feeding a custom or commercial high-calcium diet on the calcium and phosphorus concentration of pin-head (13.7 mg) and juvenile (320.9 mg) crickets. Crickets were housed in 37.9 L aquariums, provided with water and egg crates for hiding, maintained on a 12 h light: 12 h...

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 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...

The effect of a produce based gut loading diet on mineral and vitamin content of adult crickets (Acheta domestica)

Adequate supplementation of calcium and other nutrients including vitamin A is integral to successfully holding insectivorous amphibians and reptiles in captivity. Dusting and gut loading insects are two commonly used methods of supplementation. A produce based gut loading diet may be more palatable and thus may gut load more successfully and for an extended period of time. Adult crickets (Acheta...

Calcium gut loading of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and the benefit of gel water over apple slices for maximum calcium gut loading

The importance of gut loading insects with calcium is a critical component of an insectivorous animal’s diet. The insect used in this study for calcium supplementation was the regular mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). The standard operating procedure for most gut loading protocols includes feeding high-water produce items (i.e., apples, leafy green vegetables, etc.) in conjunction with a high calcium insect supplement....

Calcium and insect gut-loading: the development of a protocol for achieving the best CA:P ratio for insectivorous animals

Commercially raised insects have inverse calcium to phosphorus ratio. Captive insectivorous animals are potentially at risk for metabolic bone disorders if the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not equalized. This is achieved through an active supplementation program where the feeder insect is given access to a calcium rich diet prior to ingestion by the insectivore. A zoo-wide insect supplementation survey...

Effects of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages of crickets (Acheta domestica) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

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...