Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (2): 355-364, 2013 | 10.14411/eje.2013.097

Analysis of the number of sensilla on the labrum and the diet of grasshoppers belonging to the family Pamphagidae (Orthoptera)

Naima BENKENANA1, Abboud HARRAT1, Daniel PETIT2
1 Laboratoire de Biosystématique et Ecologie des Arthropodes, Université Mentouri, Constantine, route d’Aïn-El-Bey-25000, Constantine, Algérie; e-mail: naima_benkenana@yahoo.fr, abboud52@yahoo.fr
2 UMR 1061 INRA, Université de Limoges, 123, av. A. Thomas, 87060 Limoges Cedex, France; e-mail: daniel.petit@unilim.fr

We studied the diet of 10 species of grasshopper belonging to the family Pamphagidae over a period of 3 years at 6 localities in North Eastern Algeria. The species of plants consumed by the grasshoppers was determined by comparing slide mounted specimens of the pieces of plant epidermis in their faeces with those in a reference collection of identified plants collected from the same localities. The percentages of occurrence of the different species of plants in the faeces of the grasshoppers were not related to the abundance of the plants at the sites studied. All the grasshoppers were polyphagous but differed in the percentage of Poaceae in their diets. The diet of Tmethis and Ocneridia contained a higher percentage of Poaceae than the other species and are considered to be ambivores. The three species in the Pamphagus gr. djelfensis complex differ in their diets but all tend to avoid consuming Poaceae and are categorized as forbivores. We also compared the frequency of occurrence of Fabaceae in the faeces and in the field and O. volxemii is the only species that avoided consuming this plant family. The number of sensilla on the labrum was also studied in both sexes of each species. Once one corrects for differences in the size of the labrum, the forbivores have higher numbers of sensilla in groups A1, A2 and A3 (but not A10) than the ambivores. The numbers of sensilla in the A10 group on the labrum of species of Pamphagidae is greater than on that of species of Acrididae, which are mainly graminivores and adapted to semi-arid conditions.

Keywords: Orthoptera, Pamphagidae, diet, labrum sensilla, Algeria

Published: April 11, 2013

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