Entomophagy Wiki
Zophobas morio
Zophobas morio larva.jpg
Zophobas morio larva
Common names: Superworms, Giant Mealworms, Zophobas, Darkling beetle
Size: 1.5-2.25 inches
Color: Tan with dark brown or black stripes
Defense: Adult beats emit foul odor when disturbed
Range: Tropical regions of Central and South America
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Tenebrionidae
Genus: Zophobas
Species: morio
Life cycle
Giant Mealworms.jpg
Zophobas morio pupa.jpg
Superworms adult.jpg

Stage consumed: Larva
Cooking method: Sauteed, boiled, toasted, fried
Parts consumed: All
Toxicity: Potential allergen

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.[1]


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.[2]


Mealworm crunch


  • 1 cup mealworms
  • 6 tablespoons oil, butter, or margarine
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste


  1. Sautee mealworms in fat of choice until golden brown
  2. Add spices and stir to combine
  3. Drain off excess fat
  4. Serve alone, or combine with Chex Mix or your favorite trail mix

View more larvae recipes on Entomophagy Wiki.

Additional recipes:



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. Once each worm is separated, the container(s) should be placed in a warm, dark area. 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.


Breeding Superworms Quick Step By Step

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.

Rainbow Mealworms the world's largest farm: Superworms in bulk