Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 166, Issue 3, pp 223–229 | Cite as

Haemolymph amino acid and sugar levels in locusts fed nutritionally unbalanced diets

  • F. P. Zanotto
  • D. Raubenheimer
  • S. J. Simpson
Original Paper


Aspects of pre- and post-ingestive compensation were investigated in locusts (Locusta migratoria) fed nutritionally unbalanced artificial diets containing 7% protein and 21% digestible carbohydrate (7:21) or 21% protein and 7% digestible carbohydrate (21:7). Feeding behaviour and haemolymph levels of amino acids and sugars were measured in locusts fed ad libitum on these diets. Locusts fed the high-protein diet had chronically elevated haemolymph levels of 15 out of 19 amino acids measured compared to locusts fed the low protein diet. However, haemolymph levels of lysine, alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid did not differ between diets, suggesting some specific regulatory mechanism for these amino acids. Haemolymph glucose and trehalose reflected levels of carbohydrate in the diets, being high in insects fed diet 7:21 relative to those given diet 21:7. These data are discussed in relation to the physiological and behavioural bases of nutritional homeostasis.

Key words

Nutritional homeostasis Haemolymph amino acid Haemolymph sugar Unbalanced diets Locust Locusta migratoria 



amino acid(s)






phosphate-buffered saline


molecular weight


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abisgold JD, Simpson SJ (1987) The physiology of compensation by locusts for changes in dietary protein. J Exp Biol 129: 329–346Google Scholar
  2. Abisgold JD, Simpson SJ (1988) The effect of dietary protein levels and haemolymph composition on the sensitivity of the maxillary palp chemoreceptors of locusts. J Exp Biol 135: 215–229Google Scholar
  3. Campfield LA, Smith FJ (1990) Systemic factors in the control of food intake: evidence for patterns as signals. In: Stricker EM (ed) Handbook of behavioral neurobiology. Plenum Press, New York. pp 183–205Google Scholar
  4. Candy DJ (1985) Intermediary metabolism. In: Kerkut GA, Gilbert LA (eds) Comprehensive insect physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, vol 10: Biochemistry. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 1–41Google Scholar
  5. Chen PS (1985) Amino acid and protein metabolism. In: Kerkut GA, Gilbert LA (eds) Comprehensive insect physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, vol 10: Biochemistry. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 177–217Google Scholar
  6. Colombo JP, Cervantes H, Kokorovic M, Pfister U, Perritaz R (1992) Effect of different protein diets on the distribution of amino acids in plasma, liver and brain in the rat. Ann Nutr Met 36: 23–33Google Scholar
  7. Dadd RH (1985) Nutrition: organisms. In: Kerkut GA, Gilbert LA (eds) Comprehensive insect physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, vol 4: Regulation, digestion, nutrition and excretion. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 313–390Google Scholar
  8. Friedman S (1960) The purification and properties of trehalase isolated from Phormia regina, Meig. Arch Biochem Biophys 87: 252–258Google Scholar
  9. Friedman S, Waldbauer GP, Eertmoed JE, Naeem M, Ghent AW (1991) Blood trehalose levels have a role in the control of dietary self-selection by Heliothis zea larvae. J Insect Physiol 37: 919–928Google Scholar
  10. Gietzen DW (1993) Neural mechanisms in the responses to amino acid deficiency. J Nutr 123: 610–625Google Scholar
  11. Giza BK, Deems RO, Vanderweele DA, Scott TR (1993) Pancreatic glucagon supresses gustatory responsiveness to glucose. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 265: 1231–1237.Google Scholar
  12. Irving SN, Osborne MP, Wilson RG (1976) Virtual absence of l-glutamate from the haemoplasm of arthropod blood. Nature 263: 431–433Google Scholar
  13. Jones PG, Rosser SJ, Bulloch AGM (1987) Glutamate suppression of feeding and the underlying output of effector neurons in Helisoma. Brain Res 437: 56–68Google Scholar
  14. Krontiris-Litowitz JK, Walters ET, McAdoo DJ (1994) Stress-elicited changes in amino acid levels of hemolymph of Aplysia california. J Comp Physiol B 163: 671–675Google Scholar
  15. Lange R (1963) The osmotic function of amino acids and taurine in the mussel, Mytilus edulis. Comp Biochem Physiol 10: 172–179Google Scholar
  16. Louis-Sylvestre J, Le Magnen J (1980) A fall in blood glucose levels precedes meal onset in free-feeding rats. Neurosci Biobehav Res 4: 13–16Google Scholar
  17. Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ (1990) The effects of simultaneous variation in protein, digestible carbohydrate and tannic acid on the feeding behavior of larval Locusta migratoria (L.) and Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal.). I. Short-term studies. Physiol Entomol 15: 219–233Google Scholar
  18. Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ (1993) The geometry of compensatory feeding in the locust. Anim Behav 45: 953–964Google Scholar
  19. Rogers PJ, Blundell JE (1994) Reanalysis of the effects of phenylalanine, alanine, and aspartate on food intake in human subjects. Physiol Behav 56: 247–250Google Scholar
  20. Simmonds MSJ, Simpson SJ, Blaney WM (1992) Dietary selection behaviour in Spodoptera littoralis: the effect of conditioning diet and conditioning period on neural responsiveness and selection behaviour. J Exp Biol 162: 73–90Google Scholar
  21. Simpson CL, Simpson SJ, Abisgold JD (1990) The role of various amino acids in the protein compensatory response of Locusta migratoria. Symp Biol Hung 39: 39–46Google Scholar
  22. Simpson MLF (1987) Studies on glucose-6-phosphatase in muscle. Doctoral thesis, Oxford University, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  23. Simpson SJ (1982) Patterns in feeding: a behavioural analysis using Locusta migratoria nymphs. Physiol Entomol 7: 325–336Google Scholar
  24. Simpson SJ, Abisgold JD (1985) Compensation by locusts for changes in dietary nutrients: behavioural mechanisms. Physiol Entomol 10: 443–452Google Scholar
  25. Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D (1993a) The central role of the haemolymph in the regulation of nutrient intake in insects. Physiol Entomol 18: 395–403Google Scholar
  26. Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D (1993b) A multi-level analysis of feeding behaviour: the geometry of nutritional decisions. Phil Trans R Soc London 343: 395–403Google Scholar
  27. Simpson SJ, Simpson CL (1992) Mechanisms controlling modulation by haemolymph amino acids of gustatory responsiveness in the locust. J Exp Biol 168: 269–287Google Scholar
  28. Simpson SJ, Simmonds MSJ, Blaney WM (1988) A comparison of dietary selection behaviour in larval Locusta migratoria and Spodoptera littoralis. Physiol Entomol 13: 225–238Google Scholar
  29. Simpson SJ, James S, Simmonds MSJ, Blaney WM (1991) Variation in chemosensitivity and the control of dietary selection behaviour in the locust. Appetite 17: 141–154Google Scholar
  30. Simpson SJ, Abisgold JD, Douglas AE (1995) Response of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) to variation in dietary levels of sugar and amino acids: the significance of amino acid quality. J Insect Physiol 41: 71–75Google Scholar
  31. Slansky F, Scriber JM (1985) Food consumption and utilization. In: Kerkut GA, Gilbert LA (eds) Comprehensive insect physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, vol 4: Regulation digestion, nutrition and excretion. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp 87–163Google Scholar
  32. Tomlin E, McLean H, Caveney S (1993) Active accumulation of glutamate and aspartate by insect epidermal cells. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 23: 561–569Google Scholar
  33. Treherne JE (1958) Facilitated diffusion and exchange in the absorption of glucose by the locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forsk.). Nature 181: 1280–1281Google Scholar
  34. Zanotto FP, Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D (1993) The regulation of growth by locusts through post-ingestive compensation for variation in the levels of dietary protein and carbohydrate. Physiol Entomol 18: 425–434Google Scholar
  35. Zanotto FP, Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ (1994) Selective egestion of lysine by locusts fed nutritionally unbalanced foods. J Insect Physiol 40: 259–265Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. P. Zanotto
    • 1
  • D. Raubenheimer
    • 1
  • S. J. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations