Nutritional Analysis

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Okay here are the results so far of my current research on nutritional analysis of feeder insects and a recipe for a high calcium (8%) gutload.
General Nutritional Analysis:

Cricket: 75.6% moisture, 16.8% protein, 5.6% fat, 1.2% ash, 0.8% other.
Mealworm: 61.4% moisture, 20% protein, 14.3% fat, 1.3% ash, 5.2% other.
Zophoba: 58.7% moisture, 19.3% protein, 17.6% fat, 1.0% ash, 3.4% other.
Waxworm: 62.6% moisture, 15.8% protein, 20.4% fat, 0.8% ash, 0.4% other.
Flightless Fruitfly: 59.6% moisture, 19.7% protein, 13.8% fat, 1.7% ash, 5.2% other.

More Specific Analysis:

American Cockroach: 38.7% dry matter (dm), 53.9% crude protein(cp), 28.4% ether extract (crude fat) (ee), 3.3% ash (total minerals), 9.4% acid detergent fiber (adf), gross energy 6.07 kilocalories per gram (kcal/g)
0.20% calcium (Ca), 0.50% phosphorus (P), 0.08% magnesium (Mg), 0.27% sodium (Na), 0.87% potassium (K)14 parts per million (ppm) copper (Cu), 90 ppm iron (Fe), 57 ppm zinc (Zn), 5 ppm manganese (Mn), 0.36 ppm selenium (Se).

Cricket: 31.0% dm, 64.9% cp, 13.8% ee, 5.7% ash, 9.4% adf, 5,34 kcal/g, 0.14 Ca%, 0.99%P, 0.13%Mg, 0.49%Na, 1.29%K, 28ppm Cu, 58 ppm Fe, 188ppm Zn, 31ppm Mn, 0.58ppm Se.

Fruitfly: 29.6% dm, 70.1% cp, 12.6% ee, 4.5% ash, 27.0% adf, 5.12 kcal/g, 0.10% Ca, 1.05% P, 0.08% Mg, 0.42% Na, 1.06% K, 18ppm Cu, 1.38ppm Fe, 171ppm Zn, 39ppm Mn, 0.07ppm Se.

Mealworm: 37.6% dm, 52.7% cp, 32.8% ee, 3.2% ash, 5.7% adf, 6.49 kcal/g, 0.11% Ca, 0.77% P, 0.22% Mg, 0.14% Na, 0.91% K, 19ppm Cu, 43ppm Fe, 100ppm Zn, 14ppm Mn, 0.31ppm Se.

Zophoba: 40.9% dm, 45.3% cp, 55.1%ee, 2.9% ash, 7.2% adf, 7.08 kcal/g, 0.16% Ca, 0.59% P, 0.12% Mg, 0.10% Na, 0.72% K, 14ppm Cu, 59ppm Fe, 80ppm Zn, 1.3ppm Mn, 0.40ppm Se.

Waxworm: 34.1% dm, 42.4% cp, 46.4% ee, 2.7% ash, 4.8% adf, 7.06 kcal/g, 0.11% Ca, 0.62% P, 0.11% Mg, 0.05% Na, 0.72% K, 9ppm Cu, 22ppm Fe, 76ppm Zn, 3ppm Mn, 0.66ppm Se.

Are you still awake?
I have analysis showing the nutritional improvement of insects gutloaded with the following recipe, but I will not bore you further. Suffice it to say it is decently improved. I can add this info later if someone wants to review it.
This data came from Timberline, Covance Laboratories in Madison Wisconsin, Mary E. Allen of the National Zoological Park and Duane Ullrey of Comparative nutrition Laboratory at Michigan State University.

Here's the high calcium gutload recipe (note: the numbers are percentage by weight)

ground corn 8.3, dehydrated Alfalfa meal (17% crude protein) 10.0, dehulled and solvent extracted soybean meal (48% crude protein) 28.7, ground wheat 27.0, Calcium carbonate (38-40% Ca) 20.0, Dicalcium phosphate (21% Ca, 18% P) 2.0, salt 0.5, Vitamin premix (Herptivite) 0.25, soybean oil 3.0.

I hope you find this interesting, possibly helpful. Like I said there is more and perhaps I will do an addendum......but not tonight:)



Staff member
This is great info! Thanks Brad :cool:

I am going to make a copy for the feeder list discussion
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New Member
Wow, great info! Thanks, Brad! Where did you find this? Or, did you have the insects analyzed yourself?


Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I did not have the analysis done, although I am thinking of sending one of my dubias to the University here.
I've just been spending a lot of time looking for work other people have already done.

One thing I need to tell you about the high calcium diet. It is not intended as a diet for maintaining insects but rather for creating optimal food for your insectivore.
Insects should be rotated into this diet and fed off within 3 to 5 days. Much longer on it and you will see a high mortality rate in your feeders. Again this is not a diet for maintaining insects.
Reported effects on insects in a longer period (7-10 days) include increased exoskeleton (chitin), loss of mobility in and stiffening of limbs, and quick demise. They are not designed to handle these levels of calcium but if fed off within the prescribed amount of time can provide positive, recordable levels to your chameleon.

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Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I read that when you first posted it and was also impressed. Thank you for adding it to this thread!
Here's what I have found concerning feeders gutloaded with the high cal. recipe I included in the beginning of this thread (compare to #'s previously posted):

Cricket: 30.3% dm, 65.2% cp, 12.6% ee, 9.8% ash, 13.2% adf, 5.40 kcal/g, 0.90% Ca, 0.92% P, 0.11% Mg, 0.57% Na, 1.41% K, 29ppm Cu, 80ppm Fe, 237ppm Zn, 56ppm Mn, 0.49ppm Se.

Zophoba: 42.2% dm, 38.9% cp, 45.4% ee, 3.5% ash, 7.7% adf, 6.79 kcal/g, 0.69% Ca, 0.57% P, 0.12% Mg, 0.09% Na, 0.88% K, 13ppm Cu, 58ppm Fe, 86ppm Zn, 24ppm Mn, 0.18ppm Se.

Waxworm: 39.9% dm, * cp, * ee, 2.5% ash, * adf, * kcal/g ge, 0.50% Ca, 0.33% P, * Mg, * Na, * K, * Cu, * Fe, * Zn, * Mn, * Se.

* indicates no data available
High cal diet results also not available for cockroach, mealworm or fruitfly.

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