Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (4): 632-641, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.088

A comprehensive study of the changes in ecdysteroid levels during the feeding phase of fifth instar larvae of the silkworm, Bombyx mori (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae)

Bela KESHAN, Bembem THOUNAOJAM, Sanathoibi D. KH
Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong-793022, Meghalaya, India; e-mails: bkeshan@hotmail.com; bemthounaojam@gmail.com; ktgitanjali2@gmail.com

The present study describes changes in haemolymph ecdysteroid levels during the feeding phase of fifth instar larvae of Bombyx mori. A small and sharp peak in ecdysteroid level was recorded on day 4 when larvae had already reached the critical weight (2.76 ± 0.11 g) for metamorphosis. Food deprivation of larvae from day 4 resulted in an increase in the ecdysteroid level. Injection of insulin in both 1 day (before reaching critical weight) and 4 day (after reaching critical weight) old fed larvae resulted in an increase in the ecdysteroid level. However, when deprived of food only the haemolymph ecdysteroid levels of 4 day old larvae respond to an injection of insulin. The hormone level was also increased by treating 1day old larvae with a juvenile hormone analogue, but again, like insulin, only the fed larvae were affected by this treatment. Neck- and thorax-ligated 4 day old larvae had decreased ecdysteroid levels compared to both fed and food deprived larvae. However, a significant increase in ecdysteroid level was recorded in both neck- and thorax-ligated larvae injected with insulin. The injection of 20-hydroxyecdysone into 4 day old larvae resulted in an increase in the level of this substance in the haemolymph of fed and food deprived larvae, but the level was significantly higher in neck- and thorax-ligated larvae. The data, thus, indicates that ecdysteroid levels vary both in relation to the critical weight of the larvae and its nutritional status, and insulin might also play an important role in regulating the level of ecdysteroid.

Keywords: Key words. Lepidoptera, Bombycidae, Bombyx mori, ecdysteroid, insulin, juvenile hormone, food deprivation, critical weight

Received: December 3, 2014; Accepted: June 24, 2015; Prepublished online: August 27, 2015; Published: November 21, 2015

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