Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Food Habits of Insects

  • Stan K. Gangwere
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3859

The million or so insects that occur in nature come in an astounding array of sizes, shapes and colors and exhibit a wealth of adaptations. They are found virtually everywhere, and some reach staggering numbers of individuals. Their exceptional variability, ubiquity and great numbers, in combination with the wide assortment of plant and animal foods that nature makes available to them, contribute to an almost infinite variety in feeding. Nevertheless, one can sort out a few of their generalized feeding trends, or food habits, as outlined below.

What do Insects Eat?

Insects eat an astonishingly wide array of materials, a few extreme examples of which are worth mentioning. Adult carpet beetles of the genus Anthrenus (Fig. 68), are innocuous pollen feeders generally found out-of-doors on flowers, yet they enter homes and lay eggs that soon hatch into larvae. These voracious juveniles eat wool, feathers and hair and, in the process, ruin expensive carpets, upholstery and clothing. Clothes...
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References

  1. Bernays EA, Chapman RF (1994) Host-plant selection by phytophagous insects. Contemporary topics entomology, vol 2, Chapman & Hall, New York, NY, 312 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Brues CT (1946) Insect dietary. An account of the food habits of insects. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 466 ppGoogle Scholar
  3. Brues CT (1952) How insects choose their food plants. In: Stefferud A et al (eds) Insects. The yearbook of agriculture, 1952, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, pp 37–42Google Scholar
  4. Gangwere SK (1972) Host finding and feeding in the Orthopteroidea, especially as modified by food availablity: a review. Rev Univ Madrid 21:107–158Google Scholar
  5. Snograss RE (1967) Insects. Their ways and means of living. Dover Publications, 362 pp (Unabridged republication of article from 1930 Smithsonian Institution Series)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stan K. Gangwere
    • 1
  1. 1.Wayne State UniversityDetroitUSA