Nutrient self-selection is the ability of an animal to choose and maintain a balanced and nutritional diet. We are currently investigating whether gustatory cues or neurotransmitter levels are essential to facilitate nutritional choices among the cockroach Rhyparobia madera nymphs. In a taste test, nymphs were given a choice between a protein cube (casein) and a cube of carbohydrate (sucrose, mannitol, sorbose, or arabinose) with a range of phagostimulatory and nutritional values. Nymphs chose carbohydrates which were more nutritive (sucrose and mannitol) regardless of taste (sorbose, arabinose). Nymphs were also maxillectomized to remove taste receptors and were assayed in a feeding study. There were no statistical differences in diet choice when compared with sham-operated nymphs. HPLC was used to confirm the relationship of neurotransmitter levels to nutritive appetite. These results demonstrate that the role of taste in self-selection is limited to short-term selection while neurotransmitters levels appear to regulate long-term feeding.
Species 1: Blattodea Blaberidae Rhyparobia madera (Madeira cockroach)
Keywords: feeding, diet-mixing
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