Researches on Population Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 150-187

First online:

Resource allocation and time budgeting in adults of the cockroach,Periplaneta americana: The interaction of behaviour and metabolic reserves

  • C. David RolloAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, McMaster University

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Activity (to food, water and shelter) and resource allocation (mass budget, and size of various body components) were examined in populations of adultPeriplaneta americana subjected to periods of starvation or sugar feeding. Following 13 days of starvation, roaches ate 5 times their normal daily ration and feeding required about 20 days to return to pre-starvation levels. When sucrose was substituted for the usual dog-food diet for 13 days, there was also a large increase in feeding initially. When the dog food was re-established, however, there was very little feeding for about one week. Although reproduction was markedly curtailed by starvation, females fed sucrose continued reproducing for at least 59 days. The results suggested that the roaches were mainly energy limited.

Although the consumption of roaches was strongly affected by reserve depletion, eating was a small component of the time budget, and overall activity was relatively unchanged by starvation or sugar-feeding. There was a slight decrease in activity during starvation, but the circadian pattern remained unchanged. Females carrying oöthecae were highly active and were apparently attracted to food (even though they ate little). Thus the activity of the population was dominated by circadian rhythmicity and the reproductive cycle.