Feeding Mazuri 5M38 High-Ca Cricket Diet and it’s Effect on the Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio of Crickets and Meal Worms

Objectives:

 
When crickets and meal worms are used in the diet for exotic animals, calcium can be a limiting nutrient. Low dietary calcium and a calcium:phosphorus ratio that is lower than what is optimal for the animal’s nutrient requirement can result in metabolic bone disease, which is a widespread cause of death and suffering in captive reptiles. Some institutions have taken to feeding these insects a high-calcium diet to gut-load them with calcium. Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet is a diet formulated to contain a high level of calcium for crickets which are intended to be used in the diets of other animals. This diet is to be fed to crickets in order to increase the calcium level of the gut-fill; this helps balance the calcium to phosphorus ratio of the crickets when they are consumed by animals. This study is to quantify the effects of feeding crickets and meal worms insects Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet for varying time periods.
 
Treatments: Diet: Mazuri 5M38 High-calcium cricket diet Feeding time periods: 0, 12, 18, 24, 48 hours.
Test Animals: Adult crickets and meal worms.
 

Analytical Analyses

 
Crickets and meal worms for each time period will be assayed for: Calcium, phosphorus and moisture.
 

Results and Discussion

 
The analyzed levels of calcium and phosphorus in both the crickets and mealworms are listed in Table1. The calcium and phosphorus level in 5M38 Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet is as follows:
 
Calcium:             9.12%                Phosphorus:        0.69%
 
Table 1. Levels of calcium, phosphorus and Ca:P ratios in mealworms and crickets fed Mazuri 5M38 Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet. Calcium and phosphorus levels are listed in a 100% dry matter basis.
 
  Feeding period length, hours  
  0 12 18  24
Crickets        
Calcium, % 0.05 0.78 0.63 0.54
Phosphorus, % 0.39 0.44 0.46 0.44
Ca:P ratio 0.14 1.75 1.37 1.22
Mealworms        
Calcium, % 0.09 0.72 0.69 0.59
Phosphorus, % 0.82 0.61 0.53 0.51
Ca:P ratio 0.11 1.17 1.3 1.16
 
Analytical results indicate that by feeding a Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet to crickets for a period of 12 hours greatly increased the calcium content of the crickets. Total calcium, on a DM basis, went from 0.05% to 1.03%, while the Ca:P ratio improved from 0.14 to 1.75.
 
Similar results were seen with mealworms. The optimum feeding length for meal worms appears to be longer than that for crickets, with feeding periods of 12-18 hours providing maximum calcium levels. Total calcium, on a DM basis, went from 0.09% to 0.70, while the Ca:P ratio improved from 0.11 to 1.17 – 1.30.
 
In summary, feeding a high-calcium diet like 5M38, Mazuri® Hi-Ca Cricket Diet, will increase the calcium content in crickets and meal works when these insects are used in the diet for other animals. This will provide additional dietary calcium to these animals to help reduce the incidences of skeletal diseases such as metabolic bone disease.