An artificial diet formulated for continuous rearing of the predator Arma chinensis was inferior to natural prey when evaluated using life history parameters. A transcriptome analysis identified differentially expressed genes in diet-fed and prey-fed A. chinensis that were suggestive of molecular mechanisms underlying the nutritive impact of the artificial diet. Changes in the diet formulation were made based on the transcriptome analysis and tested using life history parameters. The quantity of pig liver, chicken egg, tuna fish, biotin, nicotinamide, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, L-glutamine, and sucrose was reduced, and wheat germ oil, calcium pantothenate and folic acid were increased. Ecuadorian shrimp was added as a partial substitute for tuna fish. Several parameters improved over six generations, including increased egg viability, and decreased egg and adult cannibalism. Additionally, several parameters declined, including longer developmental times for 2nd–5th instars, and decreased nymphal weights. The improvements in life history parameters support the use of transcriptome analyses to help direct formulation improvements. However, the decline in some parameters suggests that additional information, e.g., proteomic data, may be useful as well to maximize diet formulations.