Fourteen naturally occurring sugars were individually tested with respect to their effect on Cotesia glomerata longevity. Parasitoids kept with solutions of either sucrose, glucose and fructose lived for > 30 days. This constitutes a factor 15 increase in life span in comparison to control individuals kept with water only. Stachyose, mannose, melezitose, melibiose, maltose and erlose increased parasitoid longevity by a factor of 11.2-6.9. Solutions of galactose and trehalose had a marginal, but still significant effect. Lactose and raffinose did not raise parasitoid longevity, while rhamnose actually reduced parasitoid survival. In an additional experiment, the relationship between quantity of sugar consumption and longevity was established for all 14 sugars. To study the effect of an unsuitable sugar in sugar mixtures, a range of glucose:rhamnose mixtures was tested. Even at 20% of the sugar mixture rhamnose suppressed the nutritional benefit of the 80% glucose. The nutritional suitability of the sugars shows a positive correlation with the previously reported gustatory response towards the individual sugars. Patterns of sugar utilization are discussed with respect to hydrolytic enzymes and carbohydrate biochemical characteristics. Our findings for C. glomerata are compared to patterns of sugar utilization reported for other species. The comparison between C. glomerata and its host Pieris brassicae reveals that the parasitoid is capable of utilizing a range of sugars that are unsuitable to its herbivorous host. This specificity opens up opportunities to select food supplements for biological control programs that selectively target the antagonist, without concurrently enhancing herbivore fitness. [KEYWORDS: carbohydrate; Hymenoptera; feeding; enzymes Adult nutrition; apis-mellifera; food sources; ichneumonidae; longevity; wildflowers; fecundity; season; insect; hosts]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Journal publication date2001

ID: 337630