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Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Calciworms) as Food for Reptiles and Amphibians

Black Soldier Flies MatingThe larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, have recently attracted a great deal of interest as a food item for herps, birds, fishes and invertebrates. Also sold as “Phoenixworms”, “Calciworms”, “Reptiworms” and “Soldier Grubs”, they are reputed to be superior to other insects in nutritional value. However, much of what has been written about them is confusing and contradictory. Today I’ll review the available research and my own and other’s experiences and attempt to sort fact from fiction, science from opinion.

Nutritional Analysis

There has been some work done on the nutritional value of Black Soldier Fly larvae, and the reports are promising. In fact, a number of zoos now use them regularly.

Most importantly, their Calcium:Phosphorus ratio is approximately 1.5:1 – very close the 2:1 ration that is generally accepted as ideal for most reptiles and amphibians (a poor Calcium:Phosphorus ratio is the main reason that calcium supplementation of crickets is recommended). Also, the actual calcium content of Soldier Fly Larvae is extraordinarily high – up to 8,155ppm as opposed to 20-135ppm in mealworms and crickets. Read More »

Houseflies and Maggots as Food for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates

HouseflyThe world’s 250,000+ fly species figure importantly in the diets of a wide range of smaller creatures…this makes sense, as approximately 1 in every 10 animal species is a fly!     

My first attempt at culturing Houseflies began with a fish-baited jar and ended with a house full of buzzing flies and an enraged mother!  I quickly learned to chill the little beasts before using them, and was soon happily involved in fly-farming (I fed them moist dog biscuits, evaporated milk and orange juice, instead of the less-agreeable foods they preferred!). Read More »

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