Commonly referred to as superworms, giant mealworms, zophobas, or darkling beetles. Zophobas morio is eaten as the larval stage and is 1.5 to 2 times larger than regular mealworms, at up to 2.25 inches long. The larvae are tan with dark stripes at the end and a dark spot on their head.
The adults are black and have a fused wing plate. Their abdomen is pointer compared to Tenebrio molitor and the thorax and abdomen are not as
Superworms naturally occure in the tropical regions of Central and South America, but have spread across the world for use as food for reptiles and other insectivorous pets. They are often found amongst rotting logs and leaves.
The adults have a hard shell and emit a foul odor which makes them an unlikely food source. The larva, however, are used in essentially the same fashion as common mealworms, and can therefore be substituted into any recipe that calls for mealworms.
They can be stir fried, boiled, toasted, or sauteed, though care should be taken when exposing them to high heat. The high pressure which devlop inside their shell at high temperatures can cause them to explode.
Their chitin is relatively thick, comparted to Tenebrio molitor.
The taste is described as similar to almonds.
View more larvae recipes on Entomophagy Wiki.
- Mealworm French Fries (http://www.insectsarefood.com/recipes.php?title=mealworm-french-fries)
- Banana Worm Bread (http://www.insectsarefood.com/recipes.php?title=banana-worm-bread)
Zophobas morio is a prolific breeder, which makes it a top choice for reptile food. One important difference between superworms and other darkling beetle species is that the larvae will not pupate if they are in close proximity to one another, so it is important to separate any worms which will become breeding adults. Otherwise, their care is similar to that of Tenebrio molitor. They should be kept in shallow bins with a substrate of grains such as oats or bran. Additional pieces of carrot, potato, apple, cucumber or other fruit or vegetalbe should be provided as a source of moisture.
This video demonstrates the breeding process.
Additional written instructions can be found here.
There are no know legal issues with the import, export, or sale of superworms.
Superworms are widely available in pet stores or from herpetological supply stores. There are no known sources of pre-prepared superworms, but they are available live from the following sources.
- HealthyCrickets.com (http://www.healthycrickets.com/buy_superworms/buy_superworms.htm)
- New York Worms (http://www.nyworms.com/superworms.html)