CZAAWE Resource Article

Increasing calcium levels in cultured insects
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(2000)19:1<1::AID-ZOO1>3.3.CO;2-6 Low calcium (Ca) contents and low calcium:phosphorus (Ca:P) ratios of mealworm larvae and house crickets can result in imbalances of Ca and phosphorus (P) in diets of avian species when these insects form more than a minor proportion of the diet. Appropriate dietary Ca and Ca:P levels are particularly important for normal growth and bone development in chicks, especially of long-legged species such as bustards. Two experiments were carried out to evaluate the efficacy of a selection of practicable dietary options for increasing the Ca levels and Ca:P ratios of cultured mealworm larvae and immature house crickets used for feeding bustards. Dietary treatments contained higher levels of Ca than the insects' standard culture diet components but similar P levels. Dietary treatment significantly increased Ca level and Ca:P ratio of both mealworm larvae and immature house crickets but did not affect P content of either species. Acceptable insect Ca and Ca:P levels were achieved by maintaining insects on commercial high-Ca diet products for as little as 24 hours. Other factors that may have influenced the Ca levels of mealworm larvae and house crickets include physical form and overall nutrient composition of their diets. Zoo Biol 19:1–9, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.