Nutritional Analysis of Live Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

Typical Nutritional Content:

The values are approximate and can vary based on the mealworm's diet, age, and living conditions.


  • Moisture: 62-65%
    The high moisture content is important as it contributes to the hydration status of the consuming animal. However, additional water sources are typically necessary for optimal hydration.
  • Protein: 18-20%
    Protein is crucial for growth, tissue repair, and various metabolic activities. While mealworms provide a good protein source, they should be part of a balanced diet including other protein sources, depending on the specific dietary needs of the animal.
  • Fat: 12-14%
    Mealworms have a substantial fat content, providing a dense energy source. This should be considered when determining the appropriate quantity to feed, as excessive fat intake can lead to health issues.
  • Fiber: 1-2%
    The chitin (exoskeleton) provides some fiber, but its digestibility can vary greatly among different animal species. Some pets may require additional fiber sources for digestive health.
  • Ash: 1%
    This indicates the total mineral content in mealworms, though it doesn’t provide specific proportions of these essential minerals.
  • Carbohydrates (including sugars): 2-3%
    Mealworms are not a significant source of carbohydrates.
  • Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio: Approximately 1:14
    The calcium content in mealworms is minimal, and the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is not ideal for animals that require more calcium. Calcium supplements or additional dietary sources may be necessary depending on the animal’s needs.


Vitamins and Minerals:

Calcium: Significantly low, often around 20 mg/kg
For animals with high calcium needs, additional calcium supplementation may be necessary to prevent deficiencies and related health complications.

Phosphorus: Relatively high compared to calcium
A diet solely consisting of mealworms without additional calcium sources could lead to an imbalance, affecting bone health in various animals.

Other Vitamins and Minerals: Mealworms contain various other vitamins and minerals but not typically in quantities sufficient to meet an animal’s complete nutritional requirements.


General Feeding Recommendations:


  1. Balanced Diet: Integrate mealworms into a varied diet tailored to the specific nutritional requirements of the pet. This may include other food sources to ensure a well-rounded intake of essential nutrients.
  2. Moderation and Monitoring: Given their high-fat content, mealworms should be fed in moderation. It’s important to monitor the pet’s overall health and weight, adjusting portion sizes as necessary.
  3. Supplementation: Depending on the pet’s needs, calcium and potentially other vitamin supplements might be necessary to sprinkle on or feed alongside mealworms to ensure a balanced nutritional intake.
  4. Professional Guidance: For optimal care, consult with a veterinarian or a pet nutrition expert to determine the most appropriate diet, including how mealworms can fit into this diet effectively. This is especially important for exotic pets or animals with specific dietary restrictions or health conditions.
  5. Fresh Water Supply: Always provide a continuous supply of fresh water, as mealworms alone do not meet animals’ hydration needs.

This analysis underscores the importance of understanding the nutritional content of mealworms within the context of each pet’s unique dietary requirements. They can be a beneficial part of many animals' diets but should be balanced with other food sources to achieve comprehensive nutrition.