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J Insect Physiol. 2005 Nov;51(11):1210-9. Epub 2005 Aug 11.

Larval nutrition affects lipid storage and growth, but not protein or carbohydrate storage in newly eclosed adults of the grasshopper Schistocerca americana.

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Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Insect Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Nitrogen availability from dietary protein can have profound effects on the physiology and evolutionary ecology of insect herbivores. While many studies consider the effects of nutrition on consumption and gross body composition of protein and other important nutrients, few consider partitioning to storage for future use. I used chemically defined artificial diets to quantitatively manipulate the amount of dietary carbohydrates and proteins available to growing larvae of the grasshopper Schistocerca americana to determine how larval nutrient availability affects growth and all three classes of stored nutrients (proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates) carried over from larval feeding into adulthood. Larvae on poor diets increased consumption, but could not compensate for diet quality, eclosing small and containing no significant nutrient stores at adulthood. Individuals fed intermediate to high nutrient content diets as larvae were significantly larger and contained a significantly greater proportion of lipid stores at adult eclosion, but not protein or carbohydrate stores than individuals fed low nutrient content diets. This suggests that larvally derived lipid stores may be more important to adult fitness than carbohydrate or protein stores. This result is contrary to previous studies performed on the role of larval nutrition and allocation to protein stores, and this difference is likely due to variation in the relative availability of protein in adult diets across species.

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