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Diet acceptance and preference of the edible grasshopper Ruspolia differens (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae)

Abstract

The edible grasshopper Ruspolia differens (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) gathered seasonally from the wild is a highly valued and an economically important edible insect, particularly in East Africa. To reduce the pressure on wild populations, a sustainable mass production technique needs to be developed. Unfortunately, however, basic biological know-how on feeding habits of R. differens is poorly understood, which poses a constraint on the development of mass-rearing technology. Here, we evaluated the acceptance and feeding preference of R. differens for 16 cultivated or processed foods using no-choice and multiple-choice laboratory bioassays. The results indicated that adultR. differens can eat a wide variety of foods but does not necessarily accept all the foods equally. Furthermore, our experiments showed that R. differens has high ability to select diet among those available. The order of decreasing preference was wheat bran > germinated finger millet > rice seed head > finger millet seed head > chicken feed egg booster > sorghum seed head. Finally, our study indicated that sex and color morph are not associated with the order of acceptance and preference of diets in R. differens. These results show potential foods that could be utilized for developing future mass-rearing methods for R. differens.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by a Finnish Academy of Science grant (Project no 14956 to HR). We thank the office of the Ugandan President and the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology for permission to conduct the study. We thank Isaiah Mwesige for help during the experiments and the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo for providing the laboratory space.

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Correspondence to Geoffrey M. Malinga.

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Malinga, G.M., Valtonen, A., Lehtovaara, V.J. et al. Diet acceptance and preference of the edible grasshopper Ruspolia differens (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae). Appl Entomol Zool 53, 229–236 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13355-018-0550-3

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Keywords

  • African edible bush cricket
  • Artificial food
  • Feeding test
  • Insect rearing
  • Uganda