Meeting Abstract

P1.8  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Can Gypsy Moth Larvae (Lymantria dispar) Adapt Its Aversive Behavioral Response to Alkaloids? BELTON, Sheena/M*; CHARLES, Curtisha; SANFORD, Jillian/L.; SHIELDS, Vonnie/D.C.; Baltimore City Community College; Towson University; Towson University; Towson University vshields@towson.edu

Deterrent substances, such as alkaloids, are important in influencing the food selection of many insects. Some of these compounds are potentially toxic and insects benefit from having an ability to discriminate between them. We tested the hypothesis that pre-exposure (24 and 48 hours) to a diet containing an unpalatable compound (e.g., an alkaloid) will result in adaptation of the taste-mediated aversive response of gypsy moth larvae, Lymantria dispar (L.). We tested several alkaloids, namely aristolochic acid, caffeine, nicotine, berberine, and salicin to determine if each alkaloid acted in a similar manner. Our results indicated that the larvae consumed less when fed on some of these alkaloids at both 24 and 48 hour exposure periods, as indicated by only marginal growth rate and relatively little frass production. We concluded that when insects repeatedly sample a noxious food over a period of a few days, this may reduce their aversive response to that food’s unpleasant taste or toxic effects and allow them to adapt physiologically to it. In addition, we also carried out a three-part brief feeding test regime to determine if the deterrent response was mainly a sensory response or whether post-ingestive effects also played a role. This study was supported by NIH grants (1R15DC007609-01 and 3R15DC0076409-0151) to V.D.C.S., FCSM and Towson University undergraduate research grants to J.L.S., and NIH grant 5R25GM058264-08 to G. Gasparich.