, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 59-67

The feeding behaviour of Schistocerca gregaria, the desert locust, on two starch mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana

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Schistocerca gregaria, the desert locust, has been shown to regulate its dietary intake with respect to specific macronutrients in synthetic foods. This study examined the nutrients in the leaves of two starch mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana, and then compared the feeding behaviour of locusts on the two starch mutants. The high-starch mutant had c. 25 times more starch than the no-starch mutant. Newly molted 5th stadium locusts were preconditioned for 3 days on one of the mutants, and then observed for 90 min while exposed to the same or the alternative mutant. Locusts pretreated with the no-starch mutant fed longer during the first meal on high-starch mutants, spent more time feeding, and had the smaller latency to begin a meal when compared to the locusts pretreated on the high-starch mutant. The results of the study are interpreted in light of an integrative model of nutrient balancing.