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J Comp Physiol A. 2001 Oct;187(8):661-5.

Nectar feeding by the hovering hawk moth Macroglossum stellatarum: intake rate as a function of viscosity and concentration of sucrose solutions.

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Lehrstuhl für Biokybernetik, Universität Tübingen, Germany.


Although nectar feeding in insects has long been studied, the knowledge of the effect of nectar energy content on the ingestion dynamics separately from the viscosity of the fluid is very limited. To determine the effects of both factors on the feeding behavior of the hovering hawk moth Macroglossum stellatarum, we developed a method to independently manipulate sucrose concentrations and viscosity. The intake rate was analyzed as a function of sucrose concentration, the concentration at constant viscosity (kept constant by adding tylose, an inert polysaccharide), and of the different viscosities of a 30% weight/weight (w/w) sucrose solution (by adding different amounts of tylose). By increasing the concentration, and thus its viscosity, the solution intake rate (in microl s (-1)) decreased beyond a 20% w/w sucrose solution. For a 30% sucrose solution, the intake rate decreased with increasing viscosity. At constant viscosity, the solution intake rate decreased beyond a 30% w/w sucrose solution. However, if we considered the quantity of sucrose ingested per unit time (sucrose intake rate), the same fitted maximum was attained for both series in which the sucrose concentration changed (33.6% w/w). Results suggest that the gustatory input affects the dynamics of fluid ingestion separately from the viscosity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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