One of the complications that goes along with keeping most reptiles and amphibians is the need to keep other creatures alive as well, namely their food. Reptile and amphibian keepers want feeders that are nutritious, easy to keep and not disruptive to the household. We at Dubia.com feel that dubias are the best choice to meet all of those needs. Let's take a look at the advantages of dubias compared to other popular reptile and amphibian prey:
Dubias vs Crickets: While both of these bugs are lively and active, provoking a strong feeder response, crickets can be a little too active, easily getting loose in the home and chirping endlessly under the refrigerator. Dubias, which don't climb or jump, aren't likely to escape their cage and infest your home. In addition, they don't make noise! Dubias are odor free, even if they die, unlike crickets, whose decomposing bodies are quite stinky. Please see our nutrition article for more information about how Dubia Roaches compare to crickets.
Dubias vs Superworms: Some reptile keepers use super worms as a staple food, due to their relatively long period in the larval stage, meatiness and greater activity level that provokes a strong feeding response. Dubias are longer lived than super worms, more mobile and don't burrow into loose substrate. In addition, if a dubia gets loose in the home, it will most likely die, instead of returning to haunt you in the form of an inch-long black bug. Superworms are similar in nutritional content to mealworms (see above) but have even more fat.
Dubias vs Mealworms: Dubias are more active than mealworms and more likely to be noticed by your pet. Unlike mealworms, dubias don't burrow into a loose substrate and become inaccessible to the hunting reptile or amphibian. Mealworms have somewhat less protein than dubias, quite a bit less calcium and nearly twice as much fat. While mealworms can only be eaten during one phase of their life cycle, dubias are an attractive food for their entire lives, from nymphs to adults.
Dubias vs Silkworms: Silkworms and hornworms are quite a treat for most reptiles and amphibians. They are much lower in fat than dubias but also lower in calcium, and contain half as much protein. They are, also, delicate, expensive and can be difficult to care for. Dubias are cheaper, hardier and easy to feed and house.
Dubias vs Hornworms: Hornworms are enjoyed by many reptiles and amphibians. Their large size range makes them attractive to reptiles of many sizes. Their nutritional makeup is similar to that of silkworms --very low in fat, lower than dubias in protein-- but they are higher in calcium than silkworms. They are expensive per unit and consequently are not practical as a staple food. dubias are cheaper, hardier and easy to feed and house.
Dubias vs Fruit Flies: Fruit flies are similar in fat and protein levels to Dubia Roaches. They are higher in calcium relative to other feeders (though not Dubia Roaches) but since they're also higher in phosphorus, their calcium to phosphorus ratio is about the same as other feeders besides dubias. Beware, though: even the "flightless" fruit flies seem to manage to escape their enclosures and get into the household. They are also very tiny and only suitable for the smallest reptiles and amphibians. Dubias are much easier to contain. The smallest dubia nymphs are a good substitute for the larger species of fruit flies in terms of size and ease of consumption.
Reptiles and amphibians do well with a variety of prey to provide the best nutrition and varied hunting experience. All the feeders described above have their place in the reptile diet. However, we at Dubia.com feel that dubias are the best staple food for reptiles and amphibians of any size.
Finke MD. 2002. Complete nutrient composition of commercially raised invertebrates used as food for insectivores. Zoo Biology 21:286-293.
Finke MD. 2003. Gut loading to enhance the nutrient content of insects as food for reptiles: A mathematical approach. Zoo Biology 22: 147-162.
Finke MD, Dunham SD, and Kwabi CA. 2005. Evaluation of four dry commercial gut loading products for improving the calcium content of crickets, Acheta domesticus. Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 15: 7-12.
Finke MD. 2013. Complete nutrient content of four species of feeder insects. Zoo Biology 32:27-36.
Oonincx DGAB and Dierenfeld E. 2011. An investigation into the chemical composition of alternative invertebrate prey. Zoo Biology 29:1-15.
Lab analysis results for Dubia.com feeder insects: