chapter  7
34 Pages

Insect Feeding Biology (Digestive System Anatomy and Ultrastructure, Physiology and Biochemistry of Digestion, Feeding Behavior, and Sensory Systems) and the Logic of Metabolic Systems

One of the most important steps in developing and using a successful articial diet for an insect is to understand thoroughly the target insect’s feeding biology. “Feeding biology” is the composite of these features: mouthparts (biting, piercing/sucking, lapping, or some combination of these types), factors that induce or sustain feeding responses (token stimuli, nutrients that are phagostimulants), digestive enzymes, optimal gut residence time of suitable foods, absorption characteristics, nutritional requirements, and characteristics of egestion (excretion and elimination) of waste products. For those insect diet professionals who do not develop diets but who use them, it is also useful to understand how the target insect feeds and utilizes the diets that we provide them. Too often, incorrect assumptions about the insect’s feeding targets or feeding mechanisms have led researchers to fail to develop excellent or even suitable diets. Also, underestimating the complexities of insect feeding systems and how these systems are matched to their food has led to faulty decisions about diet ingredients or procedures (Chapters 6 and 8).