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Stable Isotope Enrichment (Δ15N) in the Predatory Flower Bug (Orius majusculus) Predicts Fitness-Related Differences between Diets

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Section of Organismal Biology, University of Copenhagen, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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Insects 2020, 11(4), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040255
Received: 19 March 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 14 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
Mass rearing of insects, used both as biological control agents and for food and feed, is receiving increasing attention. Efforts are being made to improve diets that are currently in use, and to identify alternative diets, as is the case with the predatory flower bug (Orius majusculus) and other heteropteran predators, due to the high costs of their current diet, the eggs of the Mediterranean flour moth (E. kuehniella). The assessment of alternative diets may include measurements of the predator’s fitness-related traits (development time, weight, etc.), and biochemical analyses such as lipid and protein content in the diet and the insects. However, assessing diet quality via the predator’s fitness-related traits is laborious, and biochemical composition is often difficult to relate to the measured traits. Isotope analysis, previously used for diet reconstruction studies, can also serve as a tool for the assessment of diet quality. Here, the variation in discrimination factors or isotope enrichment (Δ15N and Δ13C) indicates the difference in isotopic ratio between the insect and its diet. In this study, we investigated the link between Δ15N and diet quality in the predatory bug Orius majusculus. Three groups of bugs were fed different diets: Ephestia kuehniella eggs, protein-rich Drosophila melanogaster and lipid-rich D. melanogaster. The isotopic enrichment and fitness-related measurements were assessed for each group. Results show a relation between Δ15N and fitness-related measurements, which conform to the idea that lower Δ15N indicates a higher diet quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen; carbon; isotope; isotope enrichment; isotope discrimination; diet quality; Heteroptera; rearing nitrogen; carbon; isotope; isotope enrichment; isotope discrimination; diet quality; Heteroptera; rearing
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Montoro, M.; Jensen, P.M.; Sigsgaard, L. Stable Isotope Enrichment (Δ15N) in the Predatory Flower Bug (Orius majusculus) Predicts Fitness-Related Differences between Diets. Insects 2020, 11, 255.

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