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Nutritional imbalance suppresses migratory phenotypes of the Mongolian locust (Oedaleus asiaticus)

Description

For many species, migration evolves to allow organisms to access better resources. However, the proximate factors that trigger these developmental changes, and how and why these vary across species, remain

For many species, migration evolves to allow organisms to access better resources. However, the proximate factors that trigger these developmental changes, and how and why these vary across species, remain poorly understood. One prominent hypothesis is that poor-quality food promotes development of migratory phenotypes and this has been clearly shown for some polyphenic insects. In other animals, particularly long-distance bird migrants, it is clear that high-quality food is required to prepare animals for a successful migration. We tested the effect of diet quality on the flight behaviour and morphology of the Mongolian locust, Oedaleus asiaticus. Locusts reared at high population density and fed low-N grass (performance-enhancing for this species) had enhanced migratory morphology relative to locusts fed high-N grass. Furthermore, locusts fed synthetic diets with an optimal 1 : 2 protein : carbohydrate ratio flew for longer times than locusts fed diets with lower or higher protein : carbohydrate ratios. In contrast to the hypothesis that performance-degrading food should enhance migration, our results support the more nuanced hypothesis that high-quality diets promote development of migratory characteristics when migration is physiologically challenging.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-06-07

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Efficient utilization of aerobic metabolism helps Tibetan locusts conquer hypoxia

Description

Background
Responses to hypoxia have been investigated in many species; however, comparative studies between conspecific geographical populations at different altitudes are rare, especially for invertebrates. The migratory locust, Locusta migratoria,

Background
Responses to hypoxia have been investigated in many species; however, comparative studies between conspecific geographical populations at different altitudes are rare, especially for invertebrates. The migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, is widely distributed around the world, including on the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau (TP) and the low-altitude North China Plain (NP). TP locusts have inhabited Tibetan Plateau for over 34,000 years and thus probably have evolved superior capacity to cope with hypoxia.
Results
Here we compared the hypoxic responses of TP and NP locusts from morphological, behavioral, and physiological perspectives. We found that TP locusts were more tolerant of extreme hypoxia than NP locusts. To evaluate why TP locusts respond to extreme hypoxia differently from NP locusts, we subjected them to extreme hypoxia and compared their transcriptional responses. We found that the aerobic metabolism was less affected in TP locusts than in NP locusts. RNAi disruption of PDHE1β, an entry gene from glycolysis to TCA cycle, increased the ratio of stupor in TP locusts and decreased the ATP content of TP locusts in hypoxia, confirming that aerobic metabolism is critical for TP locusts to maintain activity in hypoxia.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that TP and NP locusts have undergone divergence in hypoxia tolerance. These findings also indicate that insects can adapt to hypoxic pressure by modulating basic metabolic processes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-09-18