The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Plant carbohydrate content limits performance and lipid accumulation of an outbreaking herbivore"

Posted on 2020-11-27 - 11:36
Locusts are major intermittent threats to food security and the ecological factors determining where and when these occur remain poorly understood. For many herbivores, obtaining adequate protein from plants is a key challenge. We tested how dietary protein:non-structural carbohydrate ratio (p : c) affects the developmental and physiological performance of 4th-5th instar nymphs of the South American locust, Schistocerca cancellata, which has recently resurged in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Field marching locusts preferred to feed on high carbohydrate foods. Field-collected juveniles transferred to the laboratory selected artificial diets or local plants with low p : c. On single artificial diets, survival rate increased as foods became more carbohydrate-biased. On single local plants, growth only occurred on the plant with the lowest p : c. Most local plants had p : c ratios substantially higher than optimal, demonstrating that field marching locusts must search for adequate carbohydrate or their survival and growth will be carbohydrate-limited. Total body lipids increased as dietary p : c decreased on both artificial and plant diets, and the low lipid contents of field-collected nymphs suggest that obtaining adequate carbohydrate may pose a strong limitation on migration for S. cancellata. Anthropogenic influences such as conversions of forests to pastures, may increase carbohydrate availability and promote outbreaks and migration of some locusts.


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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Stav Talal
Arianne J. Cease
Jacob P. Youngblood
Ruth Farington
Eduardo V. Trumper
Hector E. Medina
Julio E. Rojas
A. Fernando Copa
Jon F. Harrison
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