Before the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, takes on its beetle form, its larval form—the mealworm—is a hungry and nutritious grub. People eat these high-protein grubs and use them to feed other animals, like birds, rats, lizards, snakes, large fish, and more. Mealworms, in turn, will fresh or decaying organic materials. From Mom.com:
Mealworms like all kinds of foods, and some of their favorites have the word “meal” in them. They will eat oatmeal, cornmeal and other grains crushed into meal such as wheat and milo. In the wild, they eat fungus, seeds and decaying plants, but captive mealworms often eat dog or cat food, old cereal, chicken food, birdseed, flour, fruits and vegetables.
Watch 10,000 mealworms devour these fresh foods in this Green Timelapse video: Mealworms eating tomato, broccoli romanesco and corn.
Mealworms are also being studied for their ability to eat plastics and styrofoam. Whether there are side effects within the food chain has yet to be determined.
Watch these videos next:
• The Unseen Incredibleness of Mealworms
• Should we eat bugs?
• More evidence birds can count: Where’d that mealworm go?
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