ISSN / EISSN : 20754450 / 20754450
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,810
Google Scholar h5-index: 24
Latest articles in this journal
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100660
Although recent literature has shown that switching to an insect-based diet could provide several relevant advantages—from a nutritional, environmental, economic and ecological point of view—the potential growth of insects as everyday food is still unclear. Despite a growing literature on consumer acceptance and product preference for insect-based food, a segmentation of this future and possible market has never been proposed. Therefore, in the present paper, a market segmentation based on the Food Related Lifestyle Scale (FRLS), was performed in order to predict consumers’ willingness to eat (WTE) edible insects. Moreover, the role of perceived behavioural control is taken into account. Results shows that the novelty and benefits of insect consumption have generated much interest in edible insects amongst consumers belonging to the Rational cluster, who showed the highest intention to introduce insects in their diet, thus confirming the presence of a niche of “early adopters”. In addition, perceived behavioural control was the major driver of intention. Implications for attempts to encourage people to incorporate insect-based foods into their diet are discussed, with special reference to the role of marketing campaigns.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100658
The peachtree borer, Synanthedon exitiosa, and lesser peachtree borer, S. pictipes, are economically important indirect pests of peach in West Virginia. The purpose of this 3-year study was to compare the efficacy of mating disruption and post-harvest trunk sprays of chlorpyrifos insecticide for control of this pest complex in a commercial peach orchard. Overall, Isomate PTB-Dual disruption dispensers applied at a rate of 371/ha significantly disrupted the male mate-finding behavior of S. exitiosa and S. pictipes. In addition, the infestation of peach trees by S. exitiosa larvae did not vary significantly between mating disruption and insecticide treated plots. Hot-spot maps of S. exitiosa infestation showed significant spatial clusters of infestation predominately near the perimeter of all orchard plots, or where trees were missing within and/or between rows. The generation of standard deviational ellipses revelated that the location of S. exitiosa infestations in orchard plots remained relatively constant between years, and were generally oriented in a north and easterly direction, which coincided with the prevailing wind direction. Although our data indicated that mating disruption can provide growers with an effective non-chemical alternative to chlorpyrifos trunk sprays, several variables may affect its long-term success in West Virginia peach orchards; most notably the presence of high population densities, problems with maintaining adequate pheromone coverage, and the need for area-wide implementation.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100659
Weevils are significant pests of horticultural crops and are largely managed with insecticides. In response to concerns about negative impacts of synthetic insecticides on humans and the environment, entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) have been developed as an alternative method of control, and as such appear to be “ready-made” components of integrated pest management (IPM) programs. As the success of pest control requires a thorough knowledge of the biology of the pests, this review summarises our current knowledge of weevil biology on nut trees, fruit crops, plant storage roots, and palm trees. In addition, three groups of life cycles are defined based on weevil developmental habitats, and together with information from studies of EPF activity on these groups, we discuss the tactics for integrating EPF into IPM programs. Finally, we highlight the gaps in the research required to optimise the performance of EPF and provide recommendations for the improvement of EPF efficacy for the management of key weevils of horticultural crops.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100657
Many species of long-horned beetles are invasive pests causing significant economic damage in agro-forestry systems. They spend the majority of their life-cycle concealed inside natural wood or wooden packaging materials and are largely protected from adverse environmental conditions and pesticide sprays. Biological control via parasitoid natural enemies including members of the bethylid genus Sclerodermus, has proven effective against some long-horned beetles that are invasive in China. In Europe, the biocontrol potential of native Sclerodermus species is being evaluated with a view to developing efficient mass-rearing techniques and then actively deploying them against invasive Asian beetles. Here, we continue evaluations of S. brevicornis by establishing that groups of females that have already reared offspring to emergence are capable of reproducing subsequent hosts and by evaluating the lifetime reproductive capacity of individual females provided with successive hosts. Additionally, we assess the laboratory shelf-life of adult females stored for different times at different temperatures including cold storage, and then assess the post-storage reproductive performance of groups of females provided with a single host. We found that adult female longevity declines with increasing storage temperature and that most aspects of subsequent performance are negatively affected by high temperatures. The adaptability to low temperature storage enhances the suitability of S. brevicornis to mass-rearing programs and thus biocontrol deployment.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100655
As one of the world’s most infamous agricultural pests, locusts have been subjected to many in-depth studies. Their ability at one end of their behavioral spectrum to live as solitary individuals under specific conditions, and at the other end of the spectrum to form swarms of biblical scale, has placed them at the focus of vast research efforts. One important aspect of locust ecology is that of their interactions with the bacteria that reside in and on them. Although this aspect of locust ecology has been little studied relative to the mainstream locust research, these bacteria have been shown both to affect locust immunity and to participate in maintaining swarm integrity through the secretion of attractant volatiles. The interaction between locusts and their bacteria seems, however, to be bi-directional, with the bacteria themselves, as recently shown, being influenced by their host’s swarming tendencies. This seems to be a consequence of the bacterial composition in the locust’s gut, reproductive organs, and integument undergoing change with the change in their host’s behavior. In this review we describe the current state of knowledge of the locust–bacteria interactions (data exists mainly for the desert and the migratory locusts), as well as highlighting some newly-gained understanding; and offer perspectives for future research.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100656
The aim of the research here presented is to describe and compare the social representations of entomophagy co-constructed and circulating among different groups of consumers. Social representations theory (SRT) allows us to understand a social reality that the individual builds based on his own experience in everyday life symbolic exchanges, whose primary function is to adapt concepts and abstract ideas using objectification and anchoring processes. We carried out this research within the structural approach methodological framework. We explored the structure (central core and peripheral schemes) and the content (information, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs) of the social representations of entomophagy by using mixed methodological strategies (hierarchized evocations, validated scales, check-list, projective tool, open-ended questions). Data were processed employing different R packages. The main results show an essential role played by generative processes (objectification and anchoring) as well as cognitive polyphasia and thémata in the co-construction of the social representations of entomophagy. Data could help in understanding the sensory characteristics of “insects as food” that should be used or avoided, for example, in communication aimed to promote entomophagy.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100652
Variable RNA interference (RNAi) efficiencies limit RNAi-based pest management strategies for many pests. Previous efforts to understand mechanisms contributing to low RNAi efficiency indicate that double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is degraded in the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis, due to nuclease activity. To investigate the contribution of dsRNA-degrading endonucleases (dsRNases) and lepidopteran-specific RNAi efficiency-related nucleases (REases) to dsRNA instability and low RNAi efficiency in ECB, five complementary DNAs putatively encoding four dsRNases (OndsRNase1, 2, 3, and 4) and one REase (OnREase) were sequenced. Characterization of these transcripts revealed that substrate specificity might vary among the four dsRNases due to different amino acid combinations in the substrate-binding sites. Gene expression analysis indicated that OndsRNase2 and OnREase were highly expressed in the larval gut, and OndsRNase1 showed the highest expression in hemolymph, especially in older developmental stages. Transcript level analysis after dsRNA exposure revealed that expression of OnREase rapidly increased upon dsRNA ingestion or injection, whereas OndsRNase4 expression only increased after long-term ingestion of dsRNA. While the biological function of these nucleases remains to be verified, our results suggest that OnREase and OndsRNase2, and OndsRNase1 and OndsRNase4 may be responsible for degradation of dsRNAs in the ECB gut and hemolymph, respectively, thereby contributing to low RNAi efficiency.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100653
Rhodomyrtus tomentosa is a perennial shrub native to Southeast Asia and is invasive in South Florida and Hawai’i, USA. During surveys of R. tomentosa in Hong Kong from 2013–2018 for potential biological control agents, we collected larvae of the stem borer, Casmara subagronoma. Larvae were shipped in stems to a USDA-ARS quarantine facility where they were reared and subjected to biology studies and preliminary host range examinations. Casmara subagronoma is the most recent Casmara species to be described from males collected in Vietnam and Indonesia. Because the original species description was based on only two male specimens, we also provide a detailed description of the female, egg, larva, and pupa. Finally, we conducted preliminary host range trials utilizing Myrtus communis, Myrcianthes fragrans, and Camellia sinensis. Casmara subagronoma emerged from M. fragrans, a Florida-native shrub, and larvae were able to survive in non-target stems for over a year (>400 days). Based on these findings and difficulty in rearing, we do not believe C. subagronoma is a suitable insect for biological control of R. tomentosa at this time, but may warrant further study. This investigation also illustrates the importance of host surveys for conservation and taxonomic purposes.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100651
Tsetse flies (genus Glossina), the sole vectors of African trypanosomiasis, are distinct from most other insects, due to dramatic morphological and physiological adaptations required to support their unique biology. These adaptations are driven by demands associated with obligate hematophagy and viviparous reproduction. Obligate viviparity entails intrauterine larval development and the provision of maternal nutrients for the developing larvae. The reduced reproductive capacity/rate associated with this biology results in increased inter- and intra-sexual competition. Here, we use phase contrast microcomputed tomography (pcMicroCT) to analyze morphological adaptations associated with viviparous biology. These include (1) modifications facilitating abdominal distention required during blood feeding and pregnancy, (2) abdominal and uterine musculature adaptations for gestation and parturition of developed larvae, (3) reduced ovarian structure and capacity, (4) structural features of the male-derived spermatophore optimizing semen/sperm delivery and inhibition of insemination by competing males and (5) structural features of the milk gland facilitating nutrient incorporation and transfer into the uterus. Three-dimensional analysis of these features provides unprecedented opportunities for examination and discovery of internal morphological features not possible with traditional microscopy techniques and provides new opportunities for comparative morphological analyses over time and between species.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100654
Diverse butterfly wing color patterns are understood through the nymphalid groundplan, which mainly consists of central, border, and basal symmetry systems and a discal spot. However, the status of the discal spot remains unexplored. Here, the morphological and spatial diversity of the discal spot was studied in nymphalid hindwings. The discal spot is expressed as a small or narrow spot, a pair of parallel bands, a diamond or oval structure, a large dark spot, a few fragmented spots, or a white structure. In some cases, the discal spot is morphologically similar to and integrated with the central symmetry system (CSS). The discal spot is always located in a distal portion of the discal cell defined by the wing veins, which is sandwiched by the distal and proximal bands of the CSS (dBC and pBC) and is rarely occupied by border ocelli. The CSS occasionally has the central band (cBC), which differs from the discal spot. These results suggest that the discal spot is an independent and diverse miniature symmetry system nested within the CSS and that the locations of the discal spot and the CSS are determined by the wing veins at the early stage of wing development.