Australian scientists have found the Zophobas morio - commonly known as a superworm - can survive on a diet of polystyrene.
They believe the beetle larvae digest the plastic through a gut enzyme.
That could be significant for advancements in recycling, says one of the study's authors.
"Superworms are like mini recycling plants, shredding the polystyrene with their mouths and then feeding it to the bacteria in their gut," Dr Chris Rinke said.
The University of Queensland team fed three groups of superworms different diets over three weeks. The batch that ate polystyrene even put on weight.