Alphitobius diaperinus AKA "Lesser Mealworms"

A. diaperinus AKA "Lesser Mealworms or MiniMealworms"

Lesser mealworms make excellent food options for smaller reptiles or larger reptiles that will hunt smaller food. They are a cousin of the "Golden Mealworm" or T. molitor.


They are much more active and have a softer exoskeleton. They are smaller and darker ranging from a light brown to a dark black. The larvae or worms get to approx 1/2"-3/4" before pupating into pupae. The pupae and beetles are 1/4"-3/8" long. The beetles range in color from a reddish brown to jet black and are rounded and shiny.


Lesser mealworms grow and breed well in similar conditions to Golden mealworms. They require a tub approx 3 inches deep with a substrate of at least 1-2 inches deep. A substrate of oats or bran will sustain them, but it is not best for the animals that will be eating them. A better substrate would be a finely ground mixture of oats, bran, bee pollen, spirulina, brewers or nutritional yeast, ground beans, etc. They should be given a water source at least once a week. Carrots, potatoes, apples, leafy greens, and other veggies work well for this. Do not allow the substrate to get moldy.


The larvae will turn into pupae without prompting, unlike superworms. However, unlike mealworms, only a certain amount will pupate depending on the amount of space given. To increase the number of individuals that will pupate, either vertical surface area needs to be increased, or they need to be given thick cuts of cardboard pieces. The larvae will crawl into the cardboard and close the openings with chewed up fibers and will turn into beetles in the small cells. Multiple larvae may pupate in each cell of the cardboard.


These worms can be fed more often than golden mealworms because of their softer exoskeleton. They should not make up a large portion of any diet as the animals diet should always be varied. These can be fed more regularly like a superworm.

*****This is the same as for Tenebrio obscurus AKA the Dark mealworm.


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