Bioassays for Measuring Quality of Insect Food

  • Marcos Kogan
Part of the Springer Series in Experimental Entomology book series (SSEXP)


Measurement of food quality requires evaluation of the effects of a diet on physiological processes that maximize progeny production and survival, the key parameters of fitness (Williams, 1966). Slansky (1982) suggested that the amount, rate, and quality of food consumed by larvae affected growth rate, developmental time, final body weight, movement, and survival. Amount, rate, and quality of food for adults influence fecundity, longevity, movement, and competitive ability. Larval food quality may additionally affect pupal and adult phenotypic characteristics. Obvious effects of inadequate larval diets are pupal distortions and wing malformations in the imago. For example, such effects characterize the toxicity of L-canavanine to Manduca sexta L., the tobacco hornworm (Rosenthal and Dahlman, 1975).


Uric Acid Chromic Oxide Artificial Medium Nutritional Index Nutritional Ecology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agee HR, Park ML (1975) Use of electroretinogram to measure the quality of vision of the fruit fly. Environ Let 10:171–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alverson DR, All JN, Bush PD (1980) Rubidium as a marker and simulated inoculum for the black-faced leafhopper, Graminella nigrifons, the primary vector of maize chlorotic virus of corn. Environ Entomol 9:29–31.Google Scholar
  3. Barbosa P, Greenblatt J, Withers W, Cranshaw J, Harrington EA (1979) Hostplant preferences and their induction in larvae of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. Entomol Exp Appl 26:180–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck SD (1972) Nutrition, adaptation and environment. In: Insect and Mite Nutrition: Significance and Implications in Ecology and Pest Management. Rodriguez JG (ed), North-Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, pp 1–6.Google Scholar
  5. Beck SD, Reese JC (1976) Insect-plant interactions: nutrition and metabolism. Recent Adv Phytochem 10:41–92.Google Scholar
  6. Berlocher SH (1984) Insect molecular systematics. Annu Rev Entomol 29:403–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berry WL, Stimman MW, Wolf WW (1972) Marking of native phytophagous insects with rubidium: a proposed technique. Ann Entomol Soc Am 65:236–238.Google Scholar
  8. Bhattacharya AK, Waldbauer GP (1969a) Quantitative determination of uric acid in insect feces by lithium carbonate extraction and the enzymatic-spectro- photometric method. Ann Entomol Soc Am 62:925–927.Google Scholar
  9. Bhattacharya AK, Waldbauer GP (1969b) Faecal uric acid as an indicator in the determination of food utilization. J Insect Physiol 15:1129–1135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhattacharya AK, Waldbauer GP (1970) Use of the faecal uric acid method in measuring the utilization of food by Tribolium confusum. J Insect Physiol 16:1983–1990.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Blau PA, Feeny P, Cotardo L, Robson DS (1978) Allylglucosinolate and herbivorous caterpillars: a contrast in toxicity and tolerance. Science 200:1296–1298.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Boller EF, Katsoyannos BI, Remund U, Chambers DL (1981) Measuring, monitoring and improving the quality of mass-reared Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata Wied. 1. The RAPID quality control system for early warning. Z Ang Entomol 92:67–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brewer FD (1982) Development and food utilization of tobacco budworm hybrids fed artificial diet containing oil soluble dyes. J Ga Entomol Soc 17:248–254.Google Scholar
  14. Brewer FD (1983) Evaluation of selected parameters as quality control criteria for mass producing a tobacco budworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Ann Entomol Soc 76:339–342.Google Scholar
  15. Buscarlet LA (1974) The use of 22Na for determining the food intake of the migratory locust. Oikos 25:204–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buscarlet LA (1983) Effects of irradiation on respiration and on food consumption measured through 22Na in Tribolium confusum J. de V. (Coleoptera: Tene- brionidae). J Stored Prod Res 19:19–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buscarlet LA, Lasceve G, Garcia J (1974) Utilisation de la cinétique de 22Na pour estimer la ration alimentaire de Sitophilus granarius dans différentes conditions de température et d’alimentation. Int J Appl Radiat Isotop 25:445–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Calver MC (1984) A review of ecological applications of immunological techniques for diet analysis. Aust J Ecol 9:19–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cammen LM (1977) On the use of liquid scintillation counting of 51Cr and 14C in the twin tracer method of measuring assimilation efficiency. Oecologia (Berl) 30:249–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chambers DL (1977) Quality control in mass rearing. Annu Rev Entomol 22:289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chambers DL, Calkins CO, Boller EF, Ito Y, Cunningham RF (1983) Measuring, monitoring and improving the quality of mass-reared Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wied.). 2. Field tests for confirming and extending laboratory results. Z Ang Entomol 95:285–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chou YM, Rock GC, Hodgson E (1973) Consumption and utilization of chemically defined diets by Argyrotaenia velutinana and Heliothis virescens. Ann Entomol Soc Am 66:627–632.Google Scholar
  23. Cohen AC, Patana R (1984) Efficiency of food utilization by Heliothis zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) fed artificial diets or green beans. Can Entomol 116:139–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dadd RH (1977) Qualitative requirements and utilization of nutrients: Insects. In: CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Section D: Nutritional Requirements, Vol. 1. Rechcigl Jr M (ed), CRC Press, Cleveland, pp 305–346.Google Scholar
  25. Daum RJ, Mckibben GH, Davich TB, McLaughlin R (1969) Development of the bait principle for boll weevil control: calco oil red N-1700 dye for measuring ingestion. J Econ Entomol 62:370–375.Google Scholar
  26. Duke KM, Crossley Jr DA (1975) Population energetics and ecology of the rock grasshopper, Trimeroptropis saxatilis. Ecology 56:1106–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fraenkel G (1953) The nutritional value of green plants for insects. Trans IX Int Congr Entomol (Amsterdam) 2:90–100.Google Scholar
  28. Gist CS, Crossley Jr DA (1975) Feeding rates of some cryptozoa as determined by isotopic half-life studies. Environ Entomol 4:625–631.Google Scholar
  29. Gordon HT (1968) Quantitative aspects of insect nutrition. Zool 8:131–138.Google Scholar
  30. Gordon HT (1972) Interpretations of insect quantitative nutrition. In: Insect and Mite Nutrition. Rodriguez JG (ed), North-Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, pp 73–105.Google Scholar
  31. Grabstein EM, Scriber JM (1982) Host-plant utilization by Hyalophora cecropia as affected by prior feeding experience. Entomol Exp Appl 32:262–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hamamura Y, Hayashiya K, Naito K, Matsuura K, Nishida J (1962) Food selection by silkworm larvae. Nature 194:754–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hendricks DF, Graham HM (1970) Oil soluble dye in larval diet for tagging moths, eggs, and spermatophores of tobacco budworms. J Econ Entomol 63:1019–1020.Google Scholar
  34. Henneberry TJ, Kishaba AN (1966) Cabbage loopers. In: Insect Colonization and Mass Production. Smith CN (ed), Academic Press, New York, pp 461–478.Google Scholar
  35. Holter P (1974) Food utilization of dung-eating Aphodius larvae (Scarabaeidae). Oikos 25:71–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hori K, Endo M (1977) Metabolism of ingested auxins in the bug Lygus disponsi: conversion of indole-3-acetic acid and gibberillin. J Insect Physiol 23:1075–1080.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jones RL, Perkins WD, Sparks AN (1975) Heliothis zea: effects of population density and a marker dye in the laboratory. J Econ Entomol 68:349–350.Google Scholar
  38. Kasting R, McGinnis AJ (1965) Measuring consumption of food by an insect with carbon-14 labelled compounds. J Insect Physiol 11:1253–1260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kasting R, McGinnis AJ (1966) Radioisotopes and the determination of nutrient requirement. Ann NY Acad Sei 139:98–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kester KM, Smith CM (1984) Effect of diet on growth, fecundity and duration of tethered flight of Nezara viridula. Entomol Exp Appl 35:75–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klein I, Kogan M (1974) Analysis of food intake, utilization, and growth in phytophagous insects—a computer program. Ann Entomol Soc Am 67:295–297.Google Scholar
  42. Kogan M (1972) Intake and utilization of natural diets by the Mexican bean beetle, Epilachna varivestis—a multivariate analysis. In: Insect and Mite Nutrition. Rodriguez JG (ed), North Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, pp 107–126.Google Scholar
  43. Kogan M, Cope D (1974) Feeding and nutrition of insects associated with soybeans. 3. Food intake, utilization, and growth in the soybean looper, Pseudoplusia includens. Ann Entomol Soc Am 67:66–72.Google Scholar
  44. Kogan M, Parra JRP (1981) Techniques and application of measurements of consumption and utilization of food by phytophagous insects. In: Current Topics in Insect Endocrinology and Nutrition. Bhaskaran G, Friedman S, Rodriguez JG (eds), Plenum, New York, pp 337–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Krebs CJ (1972) Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Harper & Row, New York, 694 pp.Google Scholar
  46. Kuramochi K, Nishijima Y (1980) Measurement of the meal size of the horn fly, Haematobia irritans (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) by the use of amaranth. Appl Entomol Zool 15:262–269.Google Scholar
  47. Leppla NC, Spangler HG (1971) A flight-cage actograph for recording circadian periodicity of pink bollworm moths. Ann Entomol Soc Am 64:1431–1434.Google Scholar
  48. Liddle L, Seegmiller JE, Laster L (1959) The enzymatic spectrophotometric method for determination of uric acid. J Lab Clin Med 54:903–913.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Lund RD, Turpin FT (1977) Serological investigation of black cutworm larval consumption by ground beetles. Ann Entomol Soc Am 70:322–324.Google Scholar
  50. McGinnis AJ, Kasting R (1964a) Colorimetric analysis of chromic oxide used to study food utilization by phytophagous insects. J Agric Food Chem 12:259–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McGinnis AJ, Kasting R (1964b) Comparison of gravimetric and chromic oxide methods for measuring percentage utilization and consumption of food by phytophagous insects. J Insect Physiol 10:989–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McGinnis AJ, Kasting R (1969) Digestibility studies with cellulose-U-C14 on the pale western cutworm, Agrotis orthogonia. J Insect Physiol 15:5–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Michel R, Colin Y, Rodriguez M, Richard JP (1977) Automatic measurement and recording of insect flight activity. Entomol Exp Appl 21:199–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Miller TA (1979) Insect Neurophysiological Techniques. Springer-Verlag, New York, 308 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moss JI, van Steenwyk RA (1982) Marking pink bollworm (Lepidoptera: Gele- chiidae) with cesium. Environ Entomol 11:1264–1268.Google Scholar
  56. Nabholz JV, Crossley Jr DA (1978) Ingestion and elimination of cesium-134 by the spider, Pardosa lapidicina. Ann Entomol Soc Am 71:325–328.Google Scholar
  57. Parra JRP, Kogan M (1981) Comparative analysis of methods for measurements of food intake and utilization using the soybean looper, Pseudoplusia includens and artificial media. Entomol Exp Appl 30:45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Peters TM, Barbosa P (1977) Influence of population density on size, fecundity, and developmental rate of insects in culture. Annu Rev Entomol 22:431–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Petrusewicz K (ed) (1967) Secondary Productivity of Terrestrial Ecosystems; Principles and Methods. Panstowowe Wydawnictwo Naurowe, Warsaw, Poland, 2 vol, 879 pp.Google Scholar
  60. Petrusewicz K, Macfadyen A (1970) Productivity of Terrestrial Animals—Principles and Methods. Int Biol Proj Handbook 13, Blackwell, Oxford, U.K., 190 pp.Google Scholar
  61. Porres MA, McMurtry JA, March RB (1975) Investigation of leaf sap feeding by three species of phytoseiid mites by labelling with radioactive phosphoric acid (H332P04). Ann Entomol Soc Am 68:871–872.Google Scholar
  62. Radford PJ (1967) Growth analysis formulae—their use and abuse. Crop Sei 7:171–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Reese JC (1978) Chronic effects of plant allelochemics on insect nutritional physiology. Entomol Exp Appl 24:625–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Reese JC (1979) Interactions of allelochemics and nutrients in herbivore food. In: Herbivores, Their Interactions with Secondary Plant Metabolites. Rosenthal GA, Janzen DH (eds), Academic Press, New York, pp 309–330.Google Scholar
  65. Reese JC, Beck SD (1978) Interrelationships of nutritional indices and dietary moisture in the black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon) digestive efficiency. J Insect Physiol 24:473–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rosenthal GA, Dahlman DL (1975) Non-protein amino acid-insect interactions: II. Effects of canaline-urea cycle amino acids on growth and development of the tobacco horn worm, Manduca sexta L. (Sphingidae). Comp Biochem Physiol 52A: 105–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Schmidt DJ, Reese JC (1986) Sources of error in nutritional index studies of insects on artificial diet. J Insect Physiol 32:193–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Scriber JM (1977) Limiting effects of low leaf water content on the nitrogen utilization, energy budget, and larval growth of Hyalophora cecropia (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). Oecologia (Berl) 28:269–287.Google Scholar
  69. Scriber JM (1979) Effects of leaf-water supplementation upon post-ingestive nutritional indices of forb-, scrub-, vine, and tree-feeding Lepidoptera. Entomol Exp Appl 25:240–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Scriber JM (1984) Host-plant suitability. In: Chemical Ecology of Insects. Bell WJ, Carde RT (eds), Chapman and Hall, Sunderland, MA, pp 159–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scriber FM, Slansky Jr F (1981) The nutritional ecology of immature insects. Annu Rev Entomol 26:183–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shepard M, Waddill VW (1976) Rubidium as a marker for Mexican bean beetles, Epilachna varivestis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Can Entomol 108:337–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Slansky Jr F (1980) Food consumption and reproduction as affected by tethered flight in female milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). Entomol Exp Appl 28:277–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Slansky Jr F (1982) Insect nutrition: an adaptationist’s perspective. Fla Entomol 65:45–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Slansky Jr F, Scriber JM (1982) Selected bibliography and summary of quantitative food utilization by immature insects. Bull Entomol Soc Am 28:43–55.Google Scholar
  76. Southwood TRE (1978) Ecological Methods. Halsted Press, John Wiley & Sons, New York. 524 pp.Google Scholar
  77. Stadler E, Hanson FE (1978) Food discrimination and induction of preference for artificial diets in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. Physiol Entomol 3:121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stepien ZA, Rodriguez JG (1972) Food utilization in acarid mites. In: Insect and Mite Nutrition. JG Rodriguez (ed), North Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, pp 127–151.Google Scholar
  79. Stimman MW (1974) Marking insects with rubidium: imported cabbage worm marked in the field. Environ Entomol 3:327–328.Google Scholar
  80. Svoboda JA, Kaplanis JN, Robbins WE, Thompson MJ (1975) Recent development in insect steroid metabolism. Annu Rev Entomol 20:205–220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. van Lenteren JC, van der Linder RW, Gluvers A (1976) A “border-line detector” for recording locomotory activities of animals. Oecologia (Berl) 23:133–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. van Steenwyk RA, Ballmer GT, Page AL, Reynolds HT (1978) Marking pink boll- worm with rubidium. Ann Entomol Soc Am 71:81–84.Google Scholar
  83. Viaud P, Le Cain Y (1975) An apparatus for recording animal motor activity. Behavior 52:312–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Waldbauer GP (1964) The consumption, digestion and utilization of solanaceous and non-solanaceous plants by larvae of the tobacco budworm, Protoparce sexta (Johan.) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Entomol Exp Appl 7:253–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Waldbauer GP (1968) The consumption and utilization of food by insects. Adv Insect Physiol 5:229–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Waldbauer GP, Cohen RW, Friedman S (1984) Self-selection of an optimal nutrient mix from defined diets by larvae of the corn earworm, Heliothis zea (Boddie). Physiol Zool 57:590–597.Google Scholar
  87. Webb JC, Agee HR, Leppla NC, Calkins CO (1981) Monitoring insect quality. Trans ASAE 24:476–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Whithan TG (1983) Host manipulation of parasites: Within-plant variation as a defense against rapidly evolving pests. In: Variable Plants and Herbivores in Natural and Managed Systems. Denno RF, McClure MS (eds), Academic Press, New York, pp 15–41.Google Scholar
  89. Williams GC (1966) Adaptation and Natural Selection. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 307 pp.Google Scholar
  90. Wright PG, Fisher DB, Mittler TE (1985) Measurement of aphid feeding rates on artificial diets using 3H-inulin. Entomol Exp Appl 37:9–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos Kogan
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations