Mealworms vs Superworms: Feeder Differences

mealworms vs superworms

When comparing both feeders, it can be confusing to tell the difference between mealworms and superworms. There are definitely good reasons for choosing either one of these critters.

I hope with this post to elaborate more on those similarities as well as the things that set them apart.

Mealies are much smaller in size and contain less nutrition than superworms. They can also withstand higher temperatures up to 88F compared to their larger counter parts. Supers grow a bit slower and are softer bodied due to their lower chitin content.

Sizing

This is one main differences that stand out between the two bugs. On one end of the spectrum you have the superworm which ranges from two to three inches full grown.

Mealworms on the other hand only get about one to one and a half inches in length. Supers are heavier bodied when compared to their counter parts. They’re just all-around plumper and juicier when comparing two specimens of the same length. Since one is larger in size, it will take less to fill up your herp.

This is beneficial when looking to save some money.

Storing

Another thing that sets the two apart is the ability to store for longer periods at a time. Mealies can be kept in the refrigerator for months to delay pupation and growth.

During this time, they will not grow but stay in a dormant state. This is extremely beneficial if you accidentally order too much or your reptiles decide to go on hunger strikes and you’re not able to feed all of your worms off.

Unfortunately, superworms cannot be placed in the fridge as doing so will kill them. This causes most breeders to be fairly precise when ordering their quantities.

Nutrients

Supers contain:

  • 17% Protein, 11% calcium, and 16% fat

Meals contain:

  • 20% protein, 3.2% calcium, and 13% fat

As you can see above, one contains more protein and less fat but also less calcium. I advise you dust or gutload all feeders regardless of their nutritional value for maximum benefit as many are high in phosphorus.

Safety

Kingworms are more aggressive in nature and can actually bite or “sting” your reptiles when desperate. Their stinger comes from a hard piece of exoskeleton located at the tip of their head.

They can also urinate on you which is more of an annoyance than anything. I always advise using the appropriate sizes when feeding to avoid any injury. Supers are also voracious eaters and tend to cannibalize each other if overcrowded.

In my experience, no matter how much I feed and hydrate them, I always have some instances of cannibalism. I believe it’s just part of their nature and have come to accept the fact that they do it. Mealworms do not bite or sting.

They do however have a harder exoskeleton which can cause digestion problems if husbandry isn’t on par but both choices can cause impaction if over-fed. Mealies are also much less aggressive.  Both work as great prey items that stimulate even the pickiest of eaters.

Conclusion

I hope to have pointed you in the right direction when it comes to mealworms vs superworms. I recommend mealies for leopard geckos and African fat-tailed geckos and supers for chameleons or bearded dragons.

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