The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

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The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kermit on Wed May 11, 2011 6:06 am

Ok I'm going to keep this one nice and short, sweet to the point Wink

Superworms (zophobas morio, a.k.a Morioworm) are different from mealworms (Tenebrio molitor a.k.a mealie). Entirely different species.

-Different nutritional ratios (superworm protein level of 17.4% compared to 20.27% for mealworms .05%.
-Different calcium ratios for supers versus .04% for mealies, 17.9%
- Different fat ratios for supers versus 12.72% for mealies.
-Different fiber ratios (Shell is accounted for as fiber source usually) 6.8% fiber for supers versus 1.73% for mealies.
- Different shell (exoskeleton), not as thick/much on supers as mealies).
-Different environmental needs- you can refrigerate mealworms to put them into stasis and prevent pupating and last longer but if superworms go below 65 they die. You CAN NOT refrigerate superworms, but they will NOT pupate as long as you keep them fed, I have had some from my original colony from october 2010 with out problems.
-Superworms will not pupate until you seperate them into their own cell like in a tackle box and stop feeding them.

...They're just all around different. The superworm on the top is about 5x larger than the mealie below it, altho the superworms would appear to be twice the size of mealworms. However, when you take into account the girth of a superworm (about the width of a #2 pencil) the size difference is far more pronounced. As the following scale comparison shows - superworms are about five times the size of mealworms on average. (that super in the picture is just recovering from a shell shed which is why it appears lighter than the super in the next picture).


However superworms DO have strong jaw, and a pointy defensive "spike" type thing on the back of their tails that they use similar to a scorpion when grabbed. I feed them to my leopard gecko, thankfully he always grabs head first and avoids injury, but I do give their heads a little pinch (and suggest you do too) with tweezers before feeding to stun them a bit to help avoid the potential injury.

Superworm:


Mealworm:


What the picture can’t show is how active superworms are compared to mealworms. Superworms are constantly on the move, which is great if you’ve got a picky eater or a pet that prefers to hunt its food. Many insectivorous animals are attracted to movement, and superworms are an attractive treat.

Superworms have a higher meat to chitin ratio than mealworms. Meaning your pet gets more easily digestible meat and less difficult to digest chitin. Basically, superworms are easier to digest than mealworms.

Superworms remain larvae longer than mealworms. You can keep superworms unrefrigerated for up to 3 months without them pupating or dying. Whereas without refrigeration mealworms only last a few weeks before they begin the process of turning into beetles.

As a general rule, if your pet is big enough to eat superworms, they are probably a better choice than mealworms. Superworms are bigger, meatier, livelier, and longer lasting than mealworms. Arguably, at five times the size of a mealworm and given their longevity in the larva state they are also a less expensive choice in the long run.

So I hope this helps to explain some of the major differences between superworms and mealworms.


Last edited by Kermit on Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:47 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by joneill on Mon May 16, 2011 10:42 pm

Hi Kermit,

Interesting info on difference between worms. I got nervous when I read about the strong jaw and defensive spike on superworms cos I have been feeding these to my 8 week old baby but now I am told its fine as these superworms are "pins" so these features that you mention have not been developed fully. Would you agree? I don't want to feed my baby anything that could potentially hurt him!

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kermit on Mon May 16, 2011 11:46 pm

Honestly anything you feed your baby could hurt it. Imo I think if you can get tiny supers that would be better than mealies because of the nutritional values and less shell thing. Less risk for constipation. Make sure ANY feeder in the tank is in an escape proof dish or hand feed so your feeders don't turn your leo inno a meal or harass him.

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by PuffMomma on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:30 pm

Hi: I am new here and I will make intros very soon. I've inherited two beautiful leopard geckos from a friend, variety TBA, but I am told they are not ordinary run of the mill geckos.

I bought some superworms yesterday (they survived my attempt to refrigerate them, which I found out after 5 hours was a big no-no). The reptile shop owner mentioned their bite, that they are aggressive and said he has seen a superworm "eat through a gecko from the inside"...his suggestion was to snap off their heads before feeding them to the leos. Seriously?!?! They will harm your leo? And doesn't snapping their heads off kill them, making them unlikely to attract your gecko's attention?

Either I don't want these worms any where near my geckos, or the reptile shop owner is repeating tall tales (which makes me think I need to find another supplier, since I need a reliable gecko consigliere). Your take?

Thank You so much! So glad I found this forum!


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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kermit on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:07 am

I have also heard these tales of supers eating thru leos stomachs which is a load of bunk imo. When you consider that a super gets chomped a good 3 or 4 times before being swallowed it is HIGHLY unlikely that it is alive once it reaches teh stomach, and if it is teh stomach acids will kill it straight away, and if THAT doesn't kill it then it will surely suffocate before it has a chance to do any harm to your leo. On the rare odd occasion that a leo is the type to just woff down its food with out chewing it, your leo may suffer a couple bites on teh way down, but is is higly unlikely that this could happen. The worst I've ever saw come from a super is a couple bites in the mouth of a leo as it was being attacked and started to eat it, these of course can cause injury and lead to possible infection but again it is a rare incident. I've been feeding my leo supers for over a year with no ill effects *knock on wood*. I suspect the place where a problem could come in is if the super was much too large for the size leo you're trying to feed it to. Supers aren't aggressive perse like teh jamacian field cricket... it won't search out and attack your leo for no reason like they do, but it will defend itself. I usually give the heads a little pinch, or the body just behind the head, to stun the super to give the leo a chance to get a good bite on the right part of the bug before eating it. It will still wiggle and squirm when stunned so it should attract your leo. Eros usually zeros in directly on the head then chomps. My local pet shop says the same thing about them, I hate how myths can get started. If they truly thought it was harmful for your herp I don't think they would sell them to you if they truly cared about your herps well being.

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by lukeh1992 on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:36 am

so would you say feeding a fully grown female leo superworms instead of mealworms would be better for her? because Lizzie does not eat the mealworms as they usually sit dormant in the feeding dish Crying or Very sad

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by gothicgurrrl on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:20 am

I feed morioworms to banana.. they are great Very Happy When i first got her she was on crickets, but after keeping them and putting up with the smell and the noise, i decided to change her food. She wouldn't touch them for a couple of weeks but eventually she ate them. They are much easier to care for and they are fast so she loves them Very Happy
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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by lukeh1992 on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:27 am

ahh okay, well i'll stick with mealworms until Frankie is big enough, especially as i've just started a colony of mealworms Crying or Very sad i love watching them both chasing after the crickets though, she doesnt seem to visit the food dish often, but after this batch of crickets they'll be back onto mealworms as their staple diet

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by CharliesReptiles on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:46 am

Thanks for that. I think I know where the blackness on my geckos gums came from (well the boyfriends geckos)

If they wont feed, some of them are fussy and need it rubed onto their lips. He does their tail to prevent the morioworm from biting and with that spike thing it will still cause injury

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Desiree on Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:03 am

Hi Kermit Smile

Thank you for the info on superworms. My newly adopted gecko is a full grown female so I do believe that the superworms are an option for her. We'll try them and see if she enjoys! How do you go about gut loading the supers?

Thanks!

Desiree and "Chewy"

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kermit on Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:07 am

You gutload supers and keep them identical to mealworms, except you don't refrigerate them. Anything below 65-ish will kill them. Gutload wth carrots potato broad leaf greens etc.

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Desiree on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:01 am

Well I've discovered that Chewie will eat anything that moves... She's a little piggy with a great appetite :-) She will gladly eat 5 supers and look for more... How many is too many??

Thanks! Happy Holidays Smile

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kermit on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:37 am

I generally stop my almost 2 yr old male at 3-4 if they're adult full sized supers. I think Eros would regurge or pop if he ate 5 3 inch long supers Smile not to mention he usally stops himself after 3, but some leos never learn that so its up to us to regulate diet to prevent obesity, just like with kids... you give them 2 oreos, they're gonna want more but more isn't good for them. Use good judgemet and you'll be fine.

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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Badasprog on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:49 am

Must say thanks a lot for putting this up and i haven't now learnt that they last longer in a fridge, my leo's don't get through a pot of mealworms before 3 weeks and they turn into beetles within two :S Liams family (place where my geckos live) wont let us buy superworms as liams brothers bearded dragon was eaten from the inside out, imo i don't think it's worth the frisk *shivers*
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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Kodieh on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:55 am

It's actually a myth that worms can eat through the stomach of a reptile. It just isn't possible with the munching of the jaw and stomach acid. Worms dont wiggle around in the stomach, their usually dead before they get there or shortly there after.

And if you're still not convinced, just crush or lightly squeeze the head of the worm to where it's half way dead.
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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

Post by Badasprog on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:58 am

it might have been a cricket that ate it inside out, i just remeber liams famil saying no to crickets and superworm, thanks for the tips kodieh if i ever feed them i shall do that Smile
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Re: The Difference between "Superworms" and "Mealworms"

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