KNAW Repository

Feeding responses by female Pieris brassicae butterflies to carbohydrates and amino acids

Romeis, J. and Wäckers, F.L. (2000) Feeding responses by female Pieris brassicae butterflies to carbohydrates and amino acids. Physiological Entomology, 25, 247-253. ISSN 0307-6962.

[img]PDF - Published Version
Restricted to KNAW only


Official URL:


Most Lepidoptera feed during the adult stage on carbohydrate- rich food sources, primarily floral nectar. However, little is known about the factors leading to the acceptance of a possible food source. It is reported that butterflies select for nectar rich in sucrose and amino acids. This suggests that the insects have developed a sensitivity to these nectar compounds. We tested females of the large cabbage white, Pieris brassicae L. (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) for their responses to 10 different nectar- or honeydew-sugars after either tarsal or proboscis stimulation. In no-choice experiments, food-deprived P. brassicae showed the strongest response to sucrose, followed by fructose. Other sugars, including galactose, glucose, maltose, mannose, melezitose, melibiose, raffinose and trehalose, did not elicit a feeding response. Mixtures of essential or common non-essential amino acids did not stimulate feeding. In a choice situation, P. brassicae preferred sucrose over fructose, whereas they accepted a sucrose and amino acid solution equally to a plain sucrose solution. The results indicate that for P. brassicae, feeding is mainly elicited by sucrose and fructose. [KEYWORDS: amino acids; cabbage white; nectar; Pieris brassicae; sugars Heliothis-virescens; honey-bees; adult diet; nectar; lepidoptera; noctuidae; sugars; preferences; papilionidae; biology]

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:10916
Deposited On:24 Nov 2011 01:00
Last Modified:31 Mar 2014 10:32

Repository Staff Only: item control page