The Development and Evaluation of a Gut-loading Diet for Feeder Crickets Formulated to Provide a Balanced Nutrient Source for Insectivorous Amphibians and Reptiles
In captivity the diversity of prey items for obligate insectivores is limited and nutritionally inadequate, leading to nutrient deficiencies. Zoological institutions utilize gut-loading, an insect supplementation technique, to compensate for these nutrient shortcomings. This study developed a gut-loading diet (GLD) to enhance the nutritive quality of the domestic house cricket (Acheta domestica) for insectivorous amphibians and reptiles, with the requisite that it also met cricket foraging and palatability needs. Gut-loaded cricket analysis established its effectiveness such that the targeted level of most nutrients required by the end consumers were met after consuming the diet for 24 hrs (Ca:P of 1.127; vitamin A (retinyl acetate) level of 12,607 IU/kg; vitamin E level of 342 IU/kg and a linoleic fatty acid level of 4.62%), peaking at 2 days for some and remained above targeted amounts for at least 4 days. A list of cricket gut-loading optimization husbandry procedures has also been recommended.