ISSN / EISSN : 2075-4450 / 2075-4450
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 2,617
Latest articles in this journal
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070572
Malnutrition is one of the main problems related to the global mass collapse of honey bee colonies, because in honey bees, malnutrition is associated with deterioration of the immune system and increased pesticide susceptibility. Another important cause of mass bee colonies losses is the use of pesticides. Therefore, the goal of this study was to verify the influence of polyphenols on longevity, food consumption, and cytochrome P450 gene expression in worker bees intoxicated by thiacloprid. The tests were carried out in vitro under artificial conditions (caged bees). A conclusively lower mortality rate and, in parallel, a higher average food intake, were observed in intoxicated bees treated using a mixture of phenolic acids and flavonoids compared to untreated intoxicated bees. This was probably caused by increased detoxification capacity caused by increased expression level of genes encoding the cytochrome P450 enzyme in the bees. Therefore, the addition of polyphenols into bee nutrition is probably able to positively affect the detoxification capacity of bees, which is often reduced by the impact of malnutrition resulting from degradation of the environment and common beekeeping management.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070573
Starvation is frequently encountered by animals under fluctuating food conditions in nature, and response to it is vital for life span. Many studies have investigated the behavioral and physiological responses to starvation. In particular, starvation is known to induce changes in olfactory behaviors and olfactory sensitivity to food odorants, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we investigated the transcriptional changes induced by starvation in the chemosensory tissues of the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis, using Illumina RNA sequencing. Gene expression profiling revealed 81 regulated transcripts associated with several biological processes, such as glucose metabolism, immune defense, response to stress, foraging activity, and olfaction. Focusing on the olfactory process, we observed changes in transcripts encoding proteins putatively involved in the peri-receptor events, namely, chemosensory proteins and odorant-degrading enzymes. Such modulation of their expression may drive fluctuations in the dynamics and the sensitivity of the olfactory receptor neuron response. In combination with the enhanced presynaptic activity mediated via the short neuropeptide F expressed during fasting periods, this could explain an enhanced olfactory detection process. Our observations suggest that a coordinated transcriptional response of peripheral chemosensory organs participates in the regulation of olfactory signal reception and olfactory-driven behaviors upon starvation.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070574
Obtaining biological material for DNA extraction is often challenging in organisms of conservation interest. Non-invasive sampling (i.e., sampling without injuring or disturbing an animal) is preferred as it carries no risk to the population’s survival. Here, we tested the possibility of using the body remains left by bird predators for microsatellite genotyping in Cerambyx cerdo, a veteran oak specialist. We compared results obtained from such potentially degraded samples with samples of fresh beetle tarsi (i.e., invasive and destructive but non-lethal samples). Using 10 SSR loci, we genotyped 28 fresh, and 28 remains samples. The analysis indicated that PCR amplification efficiency was not influenced by sample type but allele length and individual heterozygosity. Allele frequencies were perfectly correlated for both sample types (R2 = 0.94). Additionally, null allele frequencies and genotyping failure rates were not significantly different from zero. Although the point estimates of individual inbreeding rates (fi) were higher in remains than fresh samples (medians 0.08 vs. 0.02, respectively), both groups were not significantly different from each other and zero. Our study demonstrated that non-invasive remains samples could provide satisfactory data for population–genetic studies. However, we highlight the problem of biased inbreeding estimates, which may result from samples affected by allelic dropout.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070575
Ambigolimax valentianus is an invasive European terrestrial gastropod distributed throughout California. It is a serious pest of gardens, plant nurseries, and greenhouses. We evaluated the bacterial microbiome of whole slugs to capture a more detailed picture of bacterial diversity and composition in this host. We concentrated on the influences of diet and environment on the Ambigolimax valentianus core bacterial microbiome as a starting point for obtaining valuable information to aid in future slug microbiome studies. Ambigolimax valentianus were collected from two environments (gardens or reared from eggs in a laboratory). DNA from whole slugs were extracted and next-generation 16S rRNA gene sequencing was performed. Slug microbiomes differed between environmental sources (garden- vs. lab-reared) and were influenced by a sterile diet. Lab-reared slugs fed an unsterile diet harbored greater bacterial species than garden-reared slugs. A small core microbiome was present that was shared across all slug treatments. This is consistent with our hypothesis that a core microbiome is present and will not change due to these treatments. Findings from this study will help elucidate the impacts of slug-assisted bacterial dispersal on soils and plants, while providing valuable information about the slug microbiome for potential integrated pest research applications.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070569
The noctuid Helicoverpa armigera is an economically important pest of agricultural crops in Iran and other countries. Research is evaluating the capacity of Trichogramma parasitoids to control H. armigera populations on field crops. The objective of this research was to determine if young rather than old H. armigera eggs were optimal for Trichogrammaeuproctidis development, reproduction, and life table parameters. Bioassays involved exposing T. euproctidis mated females to H. armigera 14, 38, or 62 h old eggs within 24 h in laboratory arenas. Results indicated that the number of host eggs parasitized successfully by T. euproctidis decreased as host egg age increased. Host egg age had no significant effect on T. euproctidis adult emergence. Adults that developed in 14 h old eggs had greater longevity and fecundity than those that developed in 38 h or 62 h old eggs. The intrinsic rate of increase (r) was greatest, and the mean generation time (T) was lowest for T. euproctidis reared in 14 h old eggs. This study indicates that young H. armigera eggs are more suitable than old ones for T. euproctidis development and reproduction. This study is important because it provides evidence, for the first time, that T. euproctidis can utilize H. armigera as a rearing host. Using young rather than old host eggs could ensure the persistence of a T. euproctidis mass production system to support augmentative releases.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070571
The fungus gnat is a major pest of chive in China. Its control has been relied heavily on the application of clothianidin. Due to the intensive application, its control efficacy become reduced. The present study was intended to evaluate co-drenching of clothianidin with hexaflumuron on absorption and dissipation of clothianidin in chive plants and soils and determine the effect of such application on control efficacies. Chive production fields in Guangdong and Hubei Provinces were drenched with clothianidin alone and a mixture of clothianidin and hexaflumuron at low application rates. Concentrations of clothianidin in chive plants and soils were analyzed by HPLC. Results showed that co-application had higher control efficacies against the fungus gnat than clothianidin alone. The co-application enhanced clothianidin absorption and dissipation and extended the half-lives of clothianidin in chive. It was likely that hexaflumuron protected chive roots from larva damage, and healthy roots absorbed more clothianidin, resulting in the extension of the half-lives. Additionally, the terminal residues of clothianidin in chive after 14 days of application were lower than the maximum residue limit in chive set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This study for the first time documented that co-application of clothianidin and hexaflumuron improved chive plants in absorption and dissipation of clothianidin and enhanced fungus gnat control efficacies.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070570
Complete mitochondrial genomes are valuable resources for phylogenetics in insects. The Cyphonoceridae represents an important lineage of fireflies. However, no complete mitogenome is available until now. Here, the first complete mitochondrial genome from this subfamily was reported, with Cyphonocerus sanguineus klapperichi as a representative. The mitogenome of C. sanguineus klapperichi was conserved in the structure and comparable to that of others in size and A+T content. Nucleotide composition was A+T-biased, and all genes exhibited a positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew. Two types of tandem repeat sequence units were present in the control region (136 bp × 2; 171 bp × 2 + 9 bp). For reconstruction of Lampyridae’s phylogeny, three different datasets were analyzed by both maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian inference (BI) methods. As a result, the same topology was produced by both ML analysis of 13 protein-coding genes and 2rRNA and BI analysis of 37 genes. The results indicated that Lampyridae, Lampyrinae, Luciolinae (excluding Emeia) were monophyletic, but Ototretinae was paraphyletic, of which Stenocladius was recovered as the sister taxon to all others, while Drilaster was more closely related to Cyphonocerinae; Phturinae + Emeia were included in a monophyletic clade, which comprised sister groups with Lampyridae. Vesta was deeply rooted in the Luciolinae.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12060568
The oak flea weevil, Rhynchaenusmaculosus Yang et Zhang 1991, is a newly emerging pest that severely damages oak (genus Quercus) in China. The first R. maculosus outbreak occurred in 2020 and caused spectacular damage to all oak forests in Jilin province, northeast China. The lack of key morphological characters complicates the identification of this native pest, especially in larva and pupa stages. This is problematic because quick and accurate species identification is crucial for early monitoring and intervention during outbreaks. Here, we provided the first detailed morphological description of R. maculosus at four life stages. Additionally, we used DNA barcodes from larva and pupa specimens collected from three remote locations for molecular identification. The average pairwise divergence of all sequences in this study was 0.51%, well below the 2% to 3% (K-2-parameter) threshold set for one species. All sample sequences matched the R. maculosus morphospecies (KX657706.1 and KX657707.1), with 99.23% to 100% (sequence identity, E value: 0.00) matching success. The tree based on barcodes placed the specimens into the Rhynchaenus group, and the phylogenetic relationship between 62 sequences (30 samples and 32 from GeneBank) had high congruence with the morphospecies taxa. The traditional DNA barcodes were successfully transformed into quick response codes with larger coding capacity for information storage. The results showed that DNA barcoding is reliable for R. maculosus identification. The integration of molecular and morphology-based methods contributes to accurate species identification of this newly emerging oak pest.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12060565
Aphid performance is sensitive to temperature changes. Previous studies found that Acyrthosiphon gossypii (Mordviiko) was more sensitive to high temperature than Aphis gossypii (Glover). However, the effects of high temperatures on the survival, fecundity, and feeding behavior of these two aphid adults are not clear. This study examined the effect of different temperatures (29 °C, 32 °C, and 35 °C) on the adult survival rate, fecundity, and feeding behavior of these two aphid species. Our results showed that the adverse effects of high temperatures (32 °C and 35 °C) on aphid adult survival and fecundity were greater for Ac. gossypii than Ap. gossypii. The electrical penetration graph (EPG) data showed that Ac. gossypii spent more time feeding on xylem than phloem under all temperature treatments, which contrasted with Ap. gossypii. The time of phloem ingestion by Ap. gossypii at 32 °C was significantly higher than at 29 °C, while for Ac. gossypii, this value significantly decreased when temperature increased. These feeding patterns indicate that Ac. gossypii obtains less nutrition from phloem in support of its development and fecundity. Data generated in this study will serve as the basis for predicting the effects of increased temperature on these two cotton aphids.
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12060566
Males in Hymenopteran societies are understudied in many aspects and it is assumed that they only have a reproductive function. We studied the time budget of male honey bees, drones, using multiple methods. Changes in the activities of animals provide important information on biological clocks and their health. Yet, in nature, these changes are subtle and often unobservable without the development and use of modern technology. During the spring and summer mating season, drones emerge from the hive, perform orientation flights, and search for drone congregation areas for mating. This search may lead drones to return to their colony, drift to other colonies (vectoring diseases and parasites), or simply get lost to predation. In a low percentage of cases, the search is successful, and drones mate and die. Our objective was to describe the activity of Apis mellifera drones during the mating season in Northwestern Argentina using three methods: direct observation, video recording, and radio frequency identification (RFID). The use of RFID tagging allows the tracking of a bee for 24 h but does not reveal the detailed activity of drones. We quantified the average number of drones’ departure and arrival flights and the time outside the hive. All three methods confirmed that drones were mostly active in the afternoon. We found no differences in results between those obtained by direct observation and by video recording. RFID technology enabled us to discover previously unknown drone behavior such as activity at dawn and during the morning. We also discovered that drones may stay inside the hive for many days, even after initiation of search flights (up to four days). Likewise, we observed drones to leave the hive for several days to return later (up to three days). The three methods were complementary and should be considered for the study of bee drone activity, which may be associated with the diverse factors influencing hive health.